Combination therapy of interferon plus ribavirin could be useful for some hepatitis C patients with mixed cryoglobulinemia who have failed to respond to treatment with interferon alone, according to a study reported in the August issue of the Journal of Rheumatology
As many as half of chronic hepatitis C patients have detectable cryoglobulins, but the exact mechanism by which the virus leads to mixed cryoglobulinemia is unknown. Only a small fraction of such patients achieve long-term recovery after interferon therapy.
Italian researchers evaluated the effectiveness and safety of the combined therapy of interferon plus ribavirin in 27 hepatitis C patients with mixed cryoglobulinemia. All of the patients had either failed to respond to or relapsed after one or more courses of interferon alone.
After a year of interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin treatment, five or 18.5 percent of the patients in the study experienced a complete recovery from viral infection and from all signs and symptoms of disease.
Other sources: Journal of Rheumatology 2003;30:1775-81