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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1994 Oct;19(3):214-6.

Treatment of type C chronic active hepatitis with interferon-alpha 2a. Treatment duration does not influence biochemical remission but does decrease the relapse rate.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of L'Aquila, Italy.


Few data are as yet available on the influence of interferon (IFN) treatment duration on biochemical remission and posttreatment relapse of chronic type C hepatitis. We investigated whether duration of recombinant IFN-alpha 2a treatment influences the remission and relapse rates in type C chronic active hepatitis (CAH). Sixty-two CAH patients were randomly assigned to receive 3 MU of i.m. recombinant IFN-alpha 2a three times per week for either 3 (group A, 32 patients) or 6 (group B, 30 patients) months. A complete biochemical remission was cumulatively observed in 62.5 and 63.3% of patients in groups A and B, respectively (p = NS). One and two patients in groups A and B, respectively, showed a biochemical relapse during treatment. In all cases biochemical remission was observed within the first 3 months of treatment. Among responders, 84.2 and 52.9% (p = 0.04) cumulatively had relapses in groups A and B, respectively. We conclude that IFN treatment duration does not influence the biochemical remission rate in type C CAH, but lowers the relapse rate of those who are treated for a longer period. The IFN treatment should be stopped if the patient is a nonresponder after 3 months of treatment. In responders, treatment should be continued for at least 6 months.

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