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Ann Intern Med. 2002 Feb 19;136(4):288-92.

Surprisingly small effect of antiviral treatment in patients with hepatitis C.

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  • 1German Cochrane Institute, Stefan-Meier-Strasse 26, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The effect and applicability of interferon-based antiviral therapies in the general population of persons with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the applicability and usefulness of anti-viral therapy in a metropolitan clinic population.

DESIGN:

Retrospective case series of consecutively referred patients.

SETTING:

A teaching county hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

PATIENTS:

327 patients referred to a liver clinic after a positive result for antibody against HCV on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

MEASUREMENTS:

Treatment rates; reasons for nontreatment.

RESULTS:

34 patients had no detectable HCV RNA. Of the remaining 293 patients, 72% were not treated for the following reasons: 37% did not adhere to evaluation procedures, 34% had medical or psychiatric contraindications, 13% had ongoing substance or alcohol abuse, 11% preferred no treatment, and 5% had normal liver enzyme levels. Only 83 patients (28%) were treated; 13% had a sustained viral response.

CONCLUSION:

Most patients with HCV infection are not candidates for interferon-based therapies; alternative interventions should be sought for these patients.

Comment in

PMID:
11848726
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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