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J Hepatol. 2002 May;36(5):672-80.

Daily or three times a week interferon alfa-2b in combination with ribavirin or interferon alone for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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Service d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Pessac, France



Data on hepatitis C virus (HCV) viral dynamics and on the effect of interferon in blocking virion production have suggested a rationale for daily administration of interferon in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. We compared the efficacy and safety of daily interferon alfa-2b in combination with ribavirin with those of interferon alfa-2b three times a week alone or in combination with ribavirin.


We randomly assigned 321 patients with chronic hepatitis C to receive standard-dose interferon alfa-2b alone or in combination with ribavirin for 48 weeks or daily interferon alfa-2b (3 million units per day for 12 weeks then 3 million units three times per week for 24 weeks) and ribavirin (36 week treatment).


The rate of sustained virologic response (defined as an undetectable serum HCV-RNA level 72 weeks after initiation of treatment) was higher in patients who received combination therapy with three times weekly interferon (51.7%) or daily interferon (46.1%) than in patients who received interferon alone (25%) (P=0.0001 and P=0.002, respectively). Independent predictive factors for sustained virologic response were combination therapy, weight, genotype and viral load. In conclusion, in patients with chronic hepatitis C, combination therapy with induction treatment (daily interferon for 12 weeks) and shorter duration of treatment was not different from combination therapy for 48 weeks without induction treatment.


Induction treatment with interferon for 12 weeks and combination therapy for a total duration of 36 weeks could therefore be cost effective.

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