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Hepatogastroenterology. 1998 Mar-Apr;45(20):340-4.

Interferon treatment of HCV positive cirrhotic patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Lexington 40536, USA.


An estimated 3.5 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C. Each year, 8,000 to 10,000 of these chronically infected patients die of a liver-related complication of their infection. The introduction of effective blood screening assays has resulted in a remarkable decrease in the incidence of post-transfusion HCV infection. Nonetheless, hepatitis C remains an important clinical problem. Some important new treatment programs can help prevent the development and progression of compensated cirrhosis to either decompensated cirrhosis or HCC. Patients who present to the health care system with advanced chronic active hepatitis or cirrhosis have been treated with interferon. Of those studied, only IFN therapy has been shown to induce remissions of the hepatic inflammatory process and to eliminate viral infection in most treated cases. However, it is widely held assumption that cirrhotic individuals do not respond to IFN therapy and that the treatment of decompensated cirrhotic individuals with HCV infection is dangerous. We believe that this assumption is false. In many studies, cirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis C have been shown to respond to IFN therapy. However, they do so at a rate of half that reported for individuals with non-cirrhotic chronic active hepatitis. There have been no reports of hepatic decompensation as a consequence of IFN treatment of cirrhotic individuals with chronic hepatitis C. The use of IFN for cirrhotic patients is reviewed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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