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J Hepatol. 1996 Dec;25(6):803-13.

Prednisolone withdrawal therapy enhances the effect of human lymphoblastoid interferon in chronic hepatitis B. INTERPRED Trial Group.

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1
Department of Infectious Diseases, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

The aim of this multicentre, randomised, controlled, clinical trial was to evaluate the effect of prednisolone followed by lymphoblastoid interferon treatment in chronic hepatitis B.

METHODS:

Two hundred and thirteen patients with chronic hepatitis B were randomised to either prednisolone (2 weeks of 0.6 mg/kg/day, 1 week of 0.45 mg/kg/day and 1 week of 0.25 mg/kg/day) or matching placebo followed by a 2-week rest phase and then human lymphoblastoid interferon 10 MU daily for 5 days followed by 10 MU thrice weekly for 11 weeks. Of 200 evaluable patients, 33 (16.5%) were females, and 50 (25%) were male homosexuals. Thirty three patients (16.5%) had chronic persistent hepatitis, 145 (72.5%) had chronic active hepatitis and 22 (11%) had active cirrhosis.

RESULTS:

Survival analysis disclosed statistically significant effects of prednisolone pre-treatment on both HBeAg disappearance and HBeAg to anti-HBe seroconversion (log-rank test statistics 5.43; p = 0.02 and 4.75; p = 0.03). Observed HBeAg disappearance and HBeAg to anti-HBe seroconversion rates (placebo vs. prednisolone patients) were 28% vs. 44% and 23% vs. 38%. Six months after stopping interferon, HBV DNA was negative in 51% of prednisolone patients vs. 28% of placebo patients (Chi-square test statistic 6.13; p = 0.013). Prednisolone pre-treatment tended to be more effective in patients with higher transaminase levels and in patients with low levels of HBV DNA. Fifteen patients (7.5%) (13 within 1 year of follow-up) eventually lost HBsAg; 14 of these subsequently developed anti-HBs. Interferon treatment was modified in 102 patients (51%). Three out of 22 patients with cirrhosis (14%), one of whom received prednisolone pre-treatment, developed hepatic decompensation with a fatal outcome while on interferon treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prednisolone pre-treatment significantly enhanced the treatment effect of lymphoblastoid interferon in terms of HBeAg clearance and seroconversion to anti-HBe. Treatment should be used with caution in patients with cirrhosis and avoided in patients showing signs, or with a history, of decompensated cirrhosis.

PMID:
9007706
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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