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J Hepatol. 1991 Mar;12(2):246-50.

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of prednisolone therapy in HBeAg and HBV DNA positive Chinese patients with chronic active hepatitis B.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Forty-one hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA positive Chinese patients with chronic active hepatitis B were randomized to receive either prednisolone or placebo oral for 8 weeks. The prednisolone group received 60 mg daily for 2 weeks, 40 mg for 2 weeks, 20 mg for 2 weeks, 10 mg for 1 week and 5 mg for 1 week. In 18 patients receiving prednisolone, serum HBV DNA levels rose during the course of therapy, but dropped abruptly within 1 month of cessation of treatment. Conversely, their serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels decreased during high doses of prednisolone therapy, and then became transiently elevated during the period of withdrawal of prednisolone. At 1 year from initial treatment, the serum HBV DNA and ALT levels were similar between the groups of patients treated with prednisolone or placebo. In the prednisolone treated group, 66.7% of patients became HBV DNA negative, 50% became HBeAg negative, and 33.3% seroconverted to antibody to HBeAg (anti-HBe). In the placebo treated group, 60.9% of patients became HBV DNA negative, 60.9% became HBeAg negative, and 56.5% seroconverted to anti-HBe. Hepatic decompensation was not noted in any of the prednisolone-treated patients. Thus, the effects of the withdrawal prednisolone therapy on serum ALT and HBV DNA levels was temporary, and no differences in serum viral markers or biochemical parameters of liver inflammation between these two groups were noted at the 1 year follow-up period.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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