Maintenance Interferon Benefits


 What is Hepatitis

 How is it Transmitted

 Long Term Prognosis

 Complications of HCV

 Liver Biopsy

 Treatment Info (Interferon, Herbal, etc)

 Lab Tests (PCR, Genotype,etc.)

 Nutrition & Alternative Info

 Patient Information (Support Groups, Doctor Listing, etc)

 Related Webpages

 Transplant Info

 HCV Webrings

 My guestbookbook

 Site Awards

 FAQ & Disclaimers

Maintenance Interferon Therapy Benefits HCV-Infected Patients With Persistent Viremia
WESTPORT, Nov 01 (Reuters Health) - Maintenance therapy with interferon results in histologic improvement in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection who do not respond to interferon or interferon/ribavirin combination therapy. These findings, from a US-based trial, are published in the November issue of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Mitchell L. Shiffman and colleagues from the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, explain that more than 50% of patients infected with HCV do not respond to interferon or interferon/ribavirin therapy and are classified as nonresponders, but that "...histologic improvement is observed in some nonresponders.

The investigators studied 53 patients who were viremic after 6 months' therapy with interferon-2b but who exhibited a histologic response. Twenty-seven participants were randomized to maintenance interferon for 24 months, and 26 were randomized to discontinuation of interferon therapy. The study team monitored serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and HCV RNA titers during this period, and carried out liver biopsy every 12 months.

According to the paper, there were no significant differences between the two patient groups with respect to "...mean age, sex, race or mean values for serum ALT level, HCV RNA titer, or Knodell score."

The investigators found that despite the persistence of viremia, patients given continuous interferon therapy maintained the improvements in hepatic inflammation, serum ALT levels and log HCV RNA titers seen after the initial 6 months of treatment.

In contrast, "[s]topping treatment was associated with an increase in serum ALT, log HCV RNA, and hepatic inflammation back to baseline."

After 30 months of therapy, the investigators found that, in the cohort maintained on interferon, the mean fibrosis score decreased from 2.5 to 1.7 and the histology score improved in 80% of cases.

In the group in whom interferon therapy was discontinued, the mean fibrosis score increased from 2.2 to 2.4 and hepatic histology score increased in 30% of patients.

The investigators believe that "[a] larger and longer randomized controlled trial is now necessary to confirm the observations made in this study and define the specific population of patients who could benefit from maintenance interferon therapy."

Gastroenterology 1999;117:1164-1172

Home | What is HCV | Transmission | Future | Complications | Biopsy | Treatment | Lab | Nutrition | Patient | Links | Transplant | Webrings | guestbookbook | Awards | FAQ |