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Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Nov;5(11):610-22. doi: 10.1038/ncpgasthep1274. Epub 2008 Oct 7.

Interferon-based therapy for chronic hepatitis C: current and future perspectives.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, JW Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt, Germany.


Pegylated interferon alpha (peginterferon alpha) plus ribavirin is the current mainstay of treatment for patients with chronic HCV infection. When peginterferon alpha plus ribavirin is administered for the standard duration, a sustained virological response is achieved in around 50% of patients infected with HCV genotype 1 and around 80% of patients infected with HCV genotype 2 or 3. Data now suggest that treatment duration can be shortened or lengthened depending on baseline viral load and/or early on-treatment viral kinetics, offering the prospect of individualizing therapy further to improve response or to prevent treatment from being unnecessarily extended. Further efforts to optimize therapy are likely to involve the use of new anti-HCV agents, several of which are currently in the early stages of development. These agents include HCV protease inhibitors (particularly those against NS3-4A protease), HCV polymerase inhibitors (including both nucleoside and non-nucleoside analogs) and cyclophilin inhibitors. These compounds will be used, at least initially, in combination with peginterferon alpha plus ribavirin, extending the pivotal role of interferon-based therapy in the management of chronic hepatitis C.

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