News from Hepatitis Week of April 20, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 16

Study: Amantadine Benefits Difficult-To-Treat Hepatitis C Patients

The antiviral drug amantadine appears to be a beneficial addition in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C who fail to respond to interferon and ribavirin alone.

Researchers from the Second University of Naples in Italy investigated the benefit of adding amantadine to the standard therapy of interferon and ribavirin. Their study is reported in the May issue of Gut.

Many hepatitis C patients fail to respond to treatment with interferon and ribavirin. Amantadine is an antiviral medication used to prevent or treat certain influenza infections and Parkinson's disease.

The study involved 114 patients, including 90 who received ribavirin and varying doses of interferon and 24 patients who received interferon, ribavirin and oral amantadine. All of the patients were treated for 12 months.

At the end of one year, a sustained response was observed for six or 25 percent of the 24 patients in the triple-therapy group and just three patients in the interferon and ribavirin group. The researchers noted the three-drug therapy was well tolerated and did not increase the frequency or severity of side effects.

Other sources: Gut 52(5):701-5