This guidance updates and replaces sections 1.2 (bullet 3 only), 1.4 (as described in section 1.2 of the current guidance) and 1.7 (bullet 1 only) of NICE technology appraisal 75 (published in January 2004).

This guidance also updates and replaces sections 1.4 and 1.5 of NICE technology appraisal 106 (published in August 2006).

All other recommendations in TA75 and TA106 still stand.

NICE recommends peginterferon alfa (2a or 2b) plus ribavirin as a possible treatment for people with chronic hepatitis C:

  • who have been treated previously with peginterferon alfa (2a or 2b) plus ribavirin, or with peginterferon alfa monotherapy, but their hepatitis C didn't improve, or improved but then got worse again or
  • who also have an HIV infection.

NICE also recommends short courses of treatment with peginterferon alfa (2a or 2b) plus ribavirin for people whose hepatitis C has greatly improved within 4 weeks of starting treatment and who are suitable for short treatment courses. Whether a person is suitable for a short treatment course will depend on a number of factors.

  • In June 2011, sections 3.11, 3.12 and 4.1.5 of the guidance were amended to correct an error in the stated dose of ribavirin. The doses of ribavirin should be in mg (milligrams), and not micrograms.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.

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