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Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 113–118 | Cite as

Daily dose of interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin in treatment-naive patients with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 infection: a randomised controlled study

  • GianPiero Benetti
  • Mauro Borzio
  • Giuliano Ramella
  • Giorgio Bellati
  • Silvia Fargion
  • Alberto Colombo
  • Guido Croce
  • Carlo Iamoletti
  • Federico Balzola
  • Mario Rizzetto
  • GEL (Gruppo Epatologico Lombardo)
Internal Medicine Original Article Hepatology

Abstract

Objective

The treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection remains disappointing.

Methods

In 1999, we started a multicentre study comparing two regimens of recombinant interferon (IFN) alpha-2b plus ribavirin. Group A (90 patients) received ribavirin plus IFN alpha-2b 5 MU/day for 1 month (induction therapy) followed by IFN alpha-2b 5 MU thrice weekly for 5 months. Group B (85 patients) received ribavirin plus IFN alpha-2b 5 MU thrice weekly for 6 months. Responders in both arms received IFN alpha-2b 3 MU thrice weekly for a further 6 months. A followup evaluation was performed at 18 months.

Results

One hundred and seventy-five consecutive treatment-naive patients with HCV genotype 1 infection were enrolled in the study. A sustained virological response (SVR) was obtained in 51 (29%) patients: 28 in group A (31%) and 23 in group B (27%). HCV-RNA clearance was greater at 3 months among patients who received induction therapy (57 vs 39%; p <0.02). Age, sex, and initial viral load did not influence the achievement of a SVR. HCV clearance at the end of the study was lower in cirrhotic patients (3/26 vs 48/149; p<0.05). The only SVR in patients with cirrhosis occurred in those from group A (p<0.05). Both regimens were well tolerated.

Conclusions

This study confirms the low rate of SVR in treatment-naive patients with HCV genotype 1 infection treated with IFN alpha-2b plus ribavirin. A 4-week induction regimen was slightly superior to standard IFN alpha-2b plus ribavirin. Although the number of patients with cirrhosis was low, induction therapy seemed to be more effective in cirrhotics. Given its safety and tolerability, the induction regimen evaluated here may be a therapeutic option in treatment-naive patients with HCV genotype 1 infection

Key words

chronic hepatitis C cirrhosis genotype 1 induction therapy 

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Copyright information

© SIMI, Italian Society of Internal Medicine 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • GianPiero Benetti
    • 1
  • Mauro Borzio
    • 2
  • Giuliano Ramella
    • 1
  • Giorgio Bellati
    • 3
  • Silvia Fargion
    • 4
  • Alberto Colombo
    • 3
  • Guido Croce
    • 5
  • Carlo Iamoletti
    • 6
  • Federico Balzola
    • 7
  • Mario Rizzetto
    • 7
  • GEL (Gruppo Epatologico Lombardo)
  1. 1.Servizio di Epatologia, Divisione di Medicina IOspedale PredabissiMelegnano (MI)Italy
  2. 2.Section of Gastroenterology, Department of MedicineFatebenefratelli HospitalMilanItaly
  3. 3.Section of Gastroenterology, Department of MedicineS. Anna HospitalComoItaly
  4. 4.Clinical Medicine 1, Policlinico HospitalUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  5. 5.Section of Gastroenterology, Division of MedicineSan Carlo Borromeo HospitalMilanItaly
  6. 6.Section of Hepatology, Division of MedicineHospital of TreviglioTreviglio (BG)Italy
  7. 7.Department of Gastroenterology, Le Molinette HospitalUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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