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Gastroenterology. 1994 Aug;107(2):479-85.

Continuous versus intermittent therapy for chronic hepatitis C with recombinant interferon alfa-2a.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Ospedale Molinette, Torino, Italy.



Prolonged interferon administration to patients with chronic hepatitis C, although increasing the sustained response rate, is poorly accepted and may favor drug resistance. A pulse-treatment schedule would be preferred for compliance and costs.


One hundred thirty-five patients with chronic hepatitis C received 6 MU units of interferon alfa-2a, three times weekly, continuously for 9 months (group 1: 66 patients) or for two 3-month cycles, separated by 6 months pause (group 2: 69 patients).


At the end of therapy, 25 of 54 patients of group 1 (46.3%) and 28 of 60 of group 2 (46.7%) had normal serum aminotransferase levels. Six months after the end of treatment, sustained responders were still similar in the two groups (11 or 16.7% vs. 7 or 10.1%; NS). A loss of response before the end of therapy was seen in 10 patients of group 1 and 6 of group 2; interferon-neutralizing antibodies developed in 1 of 7 and 6 of 6 of such patients, respectively.


The intermittent administration of interferon alfa-2a to patients with chronic hepatitis C shows a sustained response rate comparable with that achieved with continuous treatment at the same dosage. Hepatitis breakthroughs during pulse therapy appeared to be limited to interferon neutralizing antibodies, whereas a prolonged, continuous treatment is more likely to induce other forms of interferon resistance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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