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Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Jun;93(6):950-3.

Intravenous natural beta-interferon in white patients with chronic hepatitis C who are nonresponders to alpha-interferon.

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Cattedra di Medicina Interna, Università di Palermo, Italy.



alpha-Interferons (alpha-IFN) have been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic viral C hepatitis, but their efficacy remains unsatisfactory. Recently natural beta-interferon (beta-IFN) administered by intravenous infusion has been used successfully.


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intravenous beta-IFN administration we treated 20 patients with histologically proven chronic hepatitis C who were nonresponders to at least two previous courses of alpha-IFN treatment. All patients received 6 million units (MU) of natural human fibroblast beta-IFN by drip infusion, 6 times per wk for 8 wk and were followed up for 6 months after suspension of treatment.


Five patients (25%) had response at the end of treatment; of these patients only one had sustained response. Patients who responded to therapy had lower, although not significantly, baseline levels of HCV RNA, compared with nonresponders. Whereas mean viral load decreased during therapy, only two patients were HCV RNA negative at the end of treatment, but none were at the end of the follow-up period. Genotype 1 was found in 17 cases, genotype 2 was found in one case, and a combination of genotypes 1b and 2a was found in the remaining two cases. Therapy was well tolerated and beta-IFN administration was neither interrupted nor its dosage reduced due to side effects in any of the patients.


Our study shows that intravenous beta-IFN is well tolerated and that the modest results obtained may depend on the brevity of treatment. Consequently, further studies are needed to define the optimum dose, schedule, and duration of treatment to eradicate HCV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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