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Dig Dis Sci. 1996 Dec;41(12 Suppl):99S-102S.

Treatment of chronic hepatitis C by interferon for longer duration than six months.

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  • 1Service d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


The efficacy of various regimens using interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) in the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was analyzed in a meta-analysis of 33 randomized clinical trials (RCTs). The results of the meta-analysis showed increased complete and sustained ALT response rates in patients receiving IFN 3 MU three times a week for six months compared with patients receiving placebo or no treatment. The dose effect (6 MU three times a week versus 3 MU three times a week) on complete ALT response rate at the end of treatment was significant, with a mean 10% improvement at both six and 12 months. There also was a significant dose effect on sustained response for 12 months treatment, with a mean 17% improvement. There was a significant treatment duration effect on sustained response rate at 3 MU three times a week and 6 MU three times a week, with a mean improvement of 16% (> or = 12 months vs six months) with 3 MU three times a week. Due to adverse events, we conclude that the best efficacy-risk ratio favors IFN treatment with 3 MU three times a week for at least 12 months. The results of our RCT comparing three IFN regimens showed that patients receiving 3 MU three times a week for up to 18 months exhibited significant improvements in histological activity score, normalization of serum ALT concentrations, and sustained response compared with patients receiving a lower dose or shorter duration of treatment with IFN. Together, these results support the conduct of another RCT to evaluate the hypothesis that long-term, continuous IFN treatment may significantly reduce the incidence of cirrhosis in patients with HCV infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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