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Eur J Med Res. 2001 Sep 28;6(9):399-405.

Effects of a mistletoe preparation with defined lectin content on chronic hepatitis C: an individually controlled cohort study.

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  • 1Center for Complementary Medicien, Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany.


Despite advances in the therapy of chronic hepatitis C for some hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes interferon and ribavirin combination therapy is effective in less than 50% of patients. Abnobaviscum Quercus (AQ) is a mistletoe preparation containing defined amounts of mistletoe lectins (ML). It has shown immunomodulatory properties in vitro and in vivo. In small clinical trials AQ resulted, within an anthroposophical treatment concept, in a biochemical or virological response in up to 40% of patients with chronic hepatitis C. In order to evaluate the effect of this preparation we conducted an individually controlled cohort study. 25 patients with chronic hepatitis C (mean duration 147 +/- 80 months) and elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were included in the study. As control they were observed for 6 months pre-treatment. This pre-treatment period was followed by 6 months of active treatment in which the mistletoe preparation was subcutaneously injected three times a week. Main outcome parameters were normalization of ALT and viral load. Hepatitis C associated signs and symptoms like tiredness, fullness in the right upper abdomen and musculoskeletal pain were assessed monthly in a standardized questionnaire. All 25 patients completed the study and most of the patients wanted to continue treatment. Mean duration of treatment was 9.1 months. None of the patients had complete or partial normalization of ALT or HCV RNA levels during pre-treatment or treatment period. Mean ALT did not change during the study. Tiredness, fullness in the right upper abdomen and musculoskeletal pain were present in 18, 8 and 4 patients respectively. They significantly improved within two months of treatment. A significant eosinophilia (p=0.0001) occurred between month 2 and 6 during treatment. 9 month treatment with a ML containing mistletoe preparation has no effect on viral load or ALT as markers of activity in patients with chronic hepatitis C. However, frequency and intensity of clinical signs and symptoms in our patients decreased significantly, similar to reports of improved quality of life in tumour patients treated with such preparations. A significant eosinophilia suggests that ML containing mistletoe preparations induce a T-helper 2 immune response.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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