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TITLE: The roles of amantadine, rimantadine, ursodeoxycholic acid, and NSAIDs, alone or in combination with alpha interferons, in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

Although alpha interferons are currently the standard treatments for chronic hepatitis C, they are effective in only 15% to 20% of patients. This low success rate has prompted research into new approaches for maximizing responses to alpha interferons. A variety of drugs have been investigated alone or in combination with alpha interferons. Of these agents, ribavirin is currently the most promising adjuvant, and the combination therapy of ribavirin plus recombinant interferon alfa-2b is reviewed in detail elsewhere in this issue (see Davis article, pp. 49-55; and McHutchison article, pp. 57-65). This article reviews the literature concerning studies of amantadine, rimantadine, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are the most commonly used alternatives to ribavirin. As of this writing, virologic response rates have been unsatisfactory when these agents are used as monotherapies. Furthermore, combining alpha interferons with either UDCA or NSAIDs does not appear to improve sustained virologic response rates. However, combination regimens composed of an alpha interferon plus amantadine, or an alpha interferon plus rimantadine, or triple therapy with either amantadine or rimantadine plus an alpha interferon and ribavirin, warrant further investigation.

AUTHOR: Younossi ZM, Perrillo RP, Department of Gastroenterology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.
SOURCE: Semin Liver Dis 1999;19 Suppl 1:95-102

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