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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 21;14(19):3038-43.

Short-term intravenous interferon therapy for chronic hepatitis B.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Himeji Red Cross Hospital, Hyogo 670-8540, Japan.



To investigate the therapeutic efficacy of short-term, multiple daily dosing of intravenous interferon (IFN) in patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B.


IFN-beta was intravenously administered at a total dose of 102 million international units (MIU) over a period of 28 d in 26 patients positive for HBeAg and HBV-DNA. IFN-beta was administered at doses of 2 MIU and 1 MIU on d 1, 3 MIU twice daily from d 2 to d 7, and 1 MIU thrice daily from d 8 to d 28. Patients were followed up for 24 wk after the end of treatment.


Six months after the end of the treatment, loss of HBV-DNA occurred in 13 (50.0%) of the 26 patients, loss of HBeAg in 9 (34.6%), development of anti-HBe in 10 (38.5%), HBeAg seroconversion in 8 (30.8%), and normalization of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in 11 (42.0%).


This 4-wk long IFN-beta therapy, which was much shorter than conventional therapy lasting 12 wk or even more than 1 year, produced therapeutic effects similar to those achieved by IFN-alpha or pegylated-IFN-alpha (peg-IFN). Fewer adverse effects, greater efficacy, and a shorter treatment period led to an improvement in patients' quality of life. IFN-beta is administered intravenously, whereas IFN-alpha is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously. Because both interferons are known to bind to an identical receptor and exert antiviral effects through intracellular signal transduction, the excellent results of IFN-beta found in this study may be attributed to the multiple doses allowed by the intravenous route.

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