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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1994 Nov;29(11):1039-43.

Efficacy of interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Comparison between non-drinkers and drinkers.

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Dept. of Gastroenterology, Osaka Rosai Hospital, Japan.



Alcohol has been reported to be an important factor that modulates the development and prognosis of chronic viral hepatitis; however, little is known about interaction of alcohol intake and chronic hepatitis C. The aim of this study was to examine whether alcohol drinking affects the effectiveness of interferon (IFN) therapy for chronic hepatitis C.


Thirty-nine patients with chronic hepatitis C were divided into three groups on the basis of the amount of alcohol intake before IFN therapy: group I (n = 15), non-drinkers; group II (n = 14), less than 70 g/day; and group III (n = 10), more than 70 g/day of ethanol intake for at least 10 years. The IFN (total dose, 330 +/- 206 MU) was administered daily for 2 weeks and then intermittently. Drinkers stayed abstinent for at least 1 month before, during, and after IFN therapy. The sustained responder was defined as the patient who showed normal alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) levels continuously for more than 6 months after the therapy. The liver histology (HAI score) and serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA were also examined before and after the therapy.


There was no significant difference among the three groups in the level of ALAT before IFN therapy, age, total dose of IFN, and liver histology. The rates of sustained responders in groups I, II, and III were 53.3%, 42.9%, and 0%, respectively, resulting in a significantly lower rate in group III than in groups I (p < 0.01) and II (p < 0.01). The serum HCV-RNA turned negative after the therapy in 58.3%, 20.0%, and 12.5% of groups I, II, and III, respectively, leading to a significantly lower rate of disappearance of HCV-RNA in group III than in group I (p < 0.05).


The IFN therapy for chronic hepatitis C was less effective in heavy drinkers than in non-drinkers.

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