Seventeen years of experience of treating hepatitis C patients with interferon reveals that the drug is effective, according to a study reported in the December issue of the Journal of Hepatology.
Researchers from the University of Palermo in Italy conducted the study after finding that appropriate treatment of acute hepatitis C is still a matter of controversy due to the lack of large controlled trials.
The researchers assessed the effectiveness of interferon for acute hepatitis C by examining 12 previous clinical trials conducted between 1985 and 2002 that involved the drug. A total of 414 patients were invovled in the trials examined.
The researchers found that interferon significantly increased sustained viral response in comparison to no treatment. They also found that delaying therapy by eight-to-12 weeks after the onset of the disease did not compromise the sustained viral response rate.
"Current evidence is sufficient to recommend interferon treatment of patients with acute hepatitis C," concluded the researchers. "A later initiation of therapy yields the same likelihood of response as early treatment. A daily induction dose during the first month is the best option of treatment."
Other sources: Journal of Hepatology 2003 Dec;39(6):1056-106