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Semin Liver Dis. 2004;24 Suppl 1:45-53.

Treatment with interferons (including pegylated interferons) in patients with hepatitis B.

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  • Department of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Queensland, Australia. grahamC@qimr.edu.au


Studies of 4 to 6 months of treatment with interferon for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have shown clearance of HBeAg to be higher in treated patients than it is in controls by approximately 25%. These results are considerably better than those with antiviral agents. Therefore, the recent European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Consensus Committee recommended the use of interferon alpha for this condition. Treatment with pegylated interferons in several trials has shown better results still. Lamivudine in combination with interferon, however, did not improve the results at 6 months after the end of therapy. In HBeAg-negative chronic HBV infection, pegylated interferon alpha is superior to lamivudine, and, again, combination with lamivudine does not improve the results. Side effects in all studies have been tolerable. Thus, these observations in chronic HBV infection, whether HBeAg-positive or HBeAg-negative, suggest an important, even primary, role for pegylated interferon therapy.

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