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J Chemother. 1990 Oct;2(5):310-8.

Experience with interferon in chronic hepatitis B in Egypt.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Clinical Pathology, Ain-Shams University, Shebin El Kom, Egypt.


Forty patients with compensated chronic active hepatitis B and elevated aminotransferases who were HBsAg and HBeAg positive were randomised to a treatment group receiving recombinant interferon alpha-2b (rIFN alpha-2b) or no treatment as a control group. The treated patients were divided into 2 groups, group I (n = 12) received IFN in a dose of 5 MU/m2 thrice weekly by subcutaneous injection for 16 weeks, and group II (n = 8) received the same dose daily for the same duration. Patients were followed up for 12 months after therapy ended. Initiation of IFN therapy was associated with an increase in aminotransferases, reaching a peak at 4-6 weeks in most patients, associated with clearance of HBeAg. At end of follow-up, 81% of the treated patients had cleared HBeAg vs 33% of the control group (p less than 0.01). Changes in other HBV markers were more frequent in the treated patients, though insignificantly. The type of response to therapy was significantly related to the duration of illness, being shortest in those who cleared HBsAg. A complete response to therapy with loss of HBsAg was associated with marked reduction in biochemical and histological activity. A partial response with clearance of HBeAg was associated with moderate improvement in biochemical parameters and ongoing activity in liver histology; whereas persistence of HBeAg was associated with elevated aminotransferases and histological deterioration in most cases. The rise in aminotransferases during seroconversion was associated with hepatic decompensation and death on 3 occasions: one during spontaneous seroconversion, and the other 2 during IFN therapy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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