Which medications in the drug class Interferons and ribavirin are used in the treatment of Hepatitis C?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Interferons and ribavirin

Interferons are naturally produced proteins with antiviral, antitumoral, and immunomodulatory actions. Interferons alfa, beta, and gamma may be given topically, systemically, and intralesionally. Interferons are immunomodulators that may shorten the clinical course, prevent complications, prevent latent and/or subsequent recurrences, decrease transmission, and eliminate established latency.

Interferon alfa-2b (Intron-A)

IFN alfa-2b is a protein product manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. The adult dosage is 3 million units subcutaneously (SC) 3 times weekly. Modulation of host immune response by IFN may play an important role in the treatment of viral diseases.

Peginterferon alfa-2b (PEG-Intron, Sylatron)

PEG-IFN consists of IFN alfa-2b attached to a single 12-kd PEG chain. It is excreted by the kidneys. PEG-IFN has sustained absorption, a slower rate of clearance, and a longer half-life than unmodified IFN, which permits more convenient once-weekly dosing and significantly improves the quality of life for patients. The adult dose is 1.5 mcg/kg SC.

Pegylated interferon alfa-2a (Pegasys)

PEG-IFN alfa-2a consists of IFN alfa-2a attached to a 40-kd branched PEG molecule. It is predominantly metabolized by the liver. The adult dosage is 180 mcg/kg SC once weekly.

Ribavirin (Rebetol, Virazole, Copegus, Moderiba, Ribasphere)

Ribavirin is an antiviral nucleoside analogue. Its chemical name is D-ribofuranosyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide. Given alone, ribavirin has little effect on the course of hepatitis C. Given with IFN, it significantly augments the rate of sustained virologic response. The adult dosage is 10.6 mg/kg orally once daily or in 2 divided doses.

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