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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1993 Jun;7(3):331-6.

Short report: prednisolone withdrawal followed by lymphoblastoid interferon in the therapy of adult patients with presumed childhood-acquired chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

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Academic Department of Medicine, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


Eighteen patients with presumed childhood acquisition of chronic hepatitis B virus infection were initially entered into this randomized controlled trial. Twelve were treated with prednisolone for 4 weeks followed, after a 2-week gap, by thrice weekly lymphoblastoid alpha-interferon for 12 weeks. Two of these had previously acted as untreated controls. Three of the 12 patients (25%) [who were initially hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg), 'e' antigen (HBeAg) and HBV-DNA positive] became HBeAg and HBV-DNA negative during therapy and remained so after 12 months post-therapy follow-up. One of these also lost HBsAg. A further two patients lost HBeAg and HBV-DNA during therapy but relapsed 6 and 9 months later. Two additional patients were HBV-DNA negative but HBeAg positive at the end of follow-up. None of the eight untreated control patients seroconverted during an identical follow-up period. Two further patients were HBsAg and HBeAg positive but HBV-DNA negative at the start of therapy. These were omitted from the final analysis: both subsequently lost HBeAg. The treatment response was associated with a rise in aspartate aminotransferase, peaking 2-6 weeks after prednisolone withdrawal, loss of HBV-DNA 0-8 weeks later and subsequent normalization of liver function tests. Treatment was well tolerated.

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