News from Hepatitis Week of Dec. 21, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 51
Study: Prolonged Interferon Treatment May Increase Responsiveness of Some Hepatitis C Patients

Increasing the time that certain hepatitis C patients are treated with inteferon may make them more responsive to treatment, according to a study reported in the December issue of Hepatology Research.

Researchers from Shin-Kokura Hospital in Kitakyushu, Japan studied the effectiveness of retreating 12 chronic hepatitis C patients with the genotype 1b form of the disease for three years with interferon. All of the patients had failed previous treatment with interferon administered for a shorter period of time.

In this second time around, the treatment consisted of six million international units (MIU) of natural interferon-alpha, two or three times a week for 3 years.

One patient was withdrawn for personal reasons. All other 11 patients completed treatment without any serious adverse reactions and were followed for three years. Of those, four showed a sustained virological response, five showed a biochemical response and two relapsed after retreatment.

"After prolonged inteferon retreatment, a significant number of patients showed a sustained response for the first time and long-term improvement in alanine aminotransferase level," concluded the researchers.

Other sources: Hepatology Research 2003 Dec;27(4):266-271