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Is Rebetron and Ribavirin not the same thing?
Dear Dr. Chung,
I just found your wonderful website, and have been reading all of the previously answered questions. Now I am confused a Rebetron and Ribavirin not the same thing? Is Peg Interferon and Pegasys not the same thing? Also...will Pegasys not be bundled with an antivirul, or is the general consensus that the antiviral that will be bundled with it not as effective as other antivirils that are available? My husband has HCV, and has aleady done the interferon with ribavirin, and after an initial somewhat slow but continuious response, his viral load levels were almost to the undetectable stage when they suddenly went back up to where they were when he started the treatement. It had been a year, so his doctor stopped the treatment. So now we are trying to decide what to do next. His last treatment was about 2 years ago. Thank you for your time.
--- partial answer from Jules Levin: Rebetron is the brand name for standard interferon 2-b and ribavirin combination. PegIntron is the name for the Schering pegylated interferon and Pegasys is the name for the roche pegylated interferon. Pegasys is expected to be available in the Fall 2002. At this point we do not know if they will make there own ribavirin available at that time or later on. But ribavirin is available unbundled from Schering. If your husband relapsed from standard interferon + ribavirin, pegylated interferon+ribavirin may be effective.
  Dr Chung Writes-  
Much of the decision about what to do next depends on the state of his liver biopsy. if he has advanced disease, he should explore the merit of being referred to a clinical trial known as HALT-C. This NIH sponsored trial will offer PEGasys + ribavirin to all qualified subjects, and if they still fail to respond, will explore the merit of low-dose PEGasys or maintenance therapy versus observation in a randomized fashion. if he does not have advanced disease, you should consider either PEGINTRON + ribavirin or PEGasys + ribavirin combination therapy.
  Dr. Chung      
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