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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Feb;19(2):119-23.

Interferon-alpha therapy within the first year after acute hepatitis C infection in hemodialysis patients: efficacy and tolerance.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Interferon monotherapy significantly reduces the chronicity rate of acute hepatitis C in nonuremic patients. In this clinical study, we evaluated the efficacy and tolerance of interferon-alpha therapy for acute hepatitis C in hemodialysis patients.

METHODS:

Patients with acute hepatitis C, established on the basis of seroconversion to anti-hepatitis C virus and the presence of hepatitis C virus RNA, received a low dose of interferon-alpha (3 MU three times per week) for 12 months or a high dose (5 MU three times per week, preceded by a daily induction dose) for 6 months. Response to treatment was defined as undetectable hepatitis C virus RNA at the end of treatment and sustained virological response was defined as persistent negative hepatitis C virus RNA 6 months after the end of treatment.

RESULTS:

Twenty-three patients were treated, 16 with a low dose of interferon-alpha and seven with a high dose. At the end of treatment, hepatitis C virus RNA was undetectable in 16/23 patients (70%). Of these, 6/23 patients (26%) relapsed and 10/23 (43%) maintained a sustained virological response (38% in lower doses vs. 57% in higher doses). Treatment was well tolerated and only three patients discontinued therapy (13%).

CONCLUSION:

Interferon-alpha within the first year after acute hepatitis C in hemodialysis patients was found to be safe and effective, inducing a sustained virological response in 43% of cases. This study supports the routine indication of acute hepatitis C treatment with interferon-alpha for hemodialysis patients, and higher doses administered for a shorter period of time should be tried according to the tolerance of the patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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