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Hepatitis C drugs found less effective in blacks

A treatment for the liver disease hepatitis C is far less effective among African-Americans than it is among whites, researchers said.
/ Source: Reuters

A treatment for the liver disease hepatitis C is far less effective among African-Americans than it is among whites, researchers said Wednesday.

According to a study in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Duke University Medical Center found 52 of 100 non-Hispanic whites showed no evidence of the hepatitis virus in their blood six months after treatment with the combination of peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin.

The response rate was just 19 percent among the 100 African-American volunteers in the study.

The reason the treatment is less effective in blacks is unknown and more research is necessary, said Andrew Muir, the study’s chief author.

He said African-American patients should be warned that the drugs may not be effective, but they should continue to be considered for treatment.

Nearly all the volunteers in the study suffered from the most common form of hepatitis C, one that is difficult to treat.