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Viral load--How Will I Respond to HCV Therapy?


My viral load test came back as 500,000 IU's ml. Is this a high or low number and is it the same as a copie? I am a genotype 1a with mild inflammation and slight fibrosis on my biopsy. My enzymes are normal (high side of normal). I am a low weight female, 46 years old using an estrogen patch. I am waiting for the new peg combo due out this fall. Are there any stats predicting if I will be a responder?

Thanking you in advance.-- J.

Dr.Chung writes--

In general you're in pretty good shape. the load is on the low side (<850,000 IU). the sustained response rates with PEG IFN + ribavirin are about 45% for genotype 1 infection. if you experience an early response (HCV RNA cleared or reduced 100-fold) by 12 weeks the likelihood of sustained response jumps up significantly (to about 2/3). RC

from Jules Levin:

Adherence to taking medication also matters. The 2/3 response rate Dr Chung mentions increases to 75% for patients with >80% adherence to taking all doses. While only 48% of patients had a sustained virologic response (the primary goal of therapy) if they had <80% adherence.

There are additional positive factors in your favor. Patients tend to respond better to therapy when they are women, under 40 yrs of age, lighter weight, and have lower viral load (as you do) and have early disease as it appears you do. You can order the NATAP HCV Handbook by calling us at 1-888-26-natap.

This information can be read in more detail on NATAP report of study results for Pegylated Interferon+Ribavirin. JL Ask our Experts All Questions