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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1999 Jan;28(1):49-51.

Complete response to twice-a-day interferon-beta with standard interferon-alpha therapy in acute hepatitis C after a needle-stick.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan.


A 25-year-old male physician with acute hepatitis C after needle-stick injury was treated with combination therapy including twice-a-day interferon-beta (IFN-beta) and standard interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). The infecting strain was of genotype 1b. Pretreatment hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels were high. Because severe paresthesias occurred with initial daily administration of 5 million units (MU) of lymphoblastoid IFN-alpha, the dose was reduced to 3 to 6 MU of IFN-alpha2b three times a week. However, HCV RNA was not cleared from serum after 20 weeks of standard IFN-alpha2b treatment. A 4-week course with IFN-beta, at the dosage of 3 MU twice daily i.v. drip, was then started and followed by an 18-week course with IFN-alpha2b, 6 MU thrice weekly. After IFN-beta treatment, HCV RNA was cleared from serum without severe adverse effects, including paresthesias. Total amounts of IFN administered were 20 MU of lymphoblastoid IFN-alpha, 648 MU of IFN-alpha2b, and 252 MU of IFN-beta. Complete response and avoidance of chronic HCV infection were achieved. Thus, combination therapy with twice-a-day IFN-beta and standard IFN-alpha was effective in treating an acute hepatitis C patient with a high viral load and sensitivity to adverse effects of high-dose IFN-alpha.

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