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J Hepatol. 1999 May;30(5):788-93.

Interferon-alpha plus ribavirin in chronic hepatitis C resistant to previous interferon-alpha course: results of a randomized multicenter trial.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Cardioangiologia ed Epatologia, Universit√† di Bologna, Italy.



Interferon-alpha plus ribavirin seem to be more efficacious than interferon monotherapy in chronic hepatitis C. In a multicenter randomized trial, we evaluated the efficacy of this association for interferon-alpha resistant chronic hepatitis C.


Fifty patients who were non-responders to recombinant or lymphoblastoid interferon-alpha were randomized to receive either ribavirin (800 mg/day) plus leucocytic interferon-alpha (3 mega units thrice weekly) or the same dose of interferon-alpha alone, for 6 months. Effects of therapy were evaluated by serum aminotransferase and hepatitis C virus RNA levels and control liver biopsies.


At the end of treatment, aminotransferase levels become normal in 9/26 patients receiving combination therapy (35% [confidence interval, 16% to 53%]) and in 2/24 receiving interferon-alpha alone (8% [confidence interval, -3% to 19%]) (p = 0.03). Aminotransferase normalization was never associated with hepatitis C virus RNA clearance. All patients with normal aminotransferase relapsed after discontinuation of therapy. At the end of treatment, mean hepatitis C virus RNA levels significantly decreased only in the group receiving combination therapy, but returned to pretreatment values 6 months thereafter. No histological improvement was observed in either group.


There is no indication for treatment with interferon-alpha at the dose of 3 mega units thrice weekly plus 800 mg/day of ribavirin for 6 months in chronic hepatitis C resistant to interferon-alpha.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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