Therapy of chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis with recombinant interferon alfa and factors that influence the response to the treatment.

F Serejo, F Ramalho, R Marinho, M Raimundo, J Velosa, M C de Moura


To assess the efficacy of therapy with alfa Interferon in chronic hepatitis C (NANB), 18 patients were enrolled in an open trial. Eleven were males and 7 females with a mean age of 43 years. Interferon alfa 2b was used in titrated doses for 9 months and the treatment was started with 5 m.U./Ti. During therapy, the patients were evaluated clinically and biochemically. A liver biopsy was done within 3 months after the completion of treatment. The serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level 1 became completely normal in 11 patients (61%) at 3 months of therapy and a partial response was seen in 3 (16%). At the 6 months the ALT sustained normal in 10 patients (55%) and a partial response was seen in 5 (27.7%). Four out of 7 patients (57%) who completed the therapy had complete response and 2 (28.5%) a partial response. From 5 patients who completed the follow-up, 3 (60%) had a relapse of ALT levels. A low level of ALT at the beginning of treatment had a predictive value of response to the therapy (P less than 0.05). The side effects of interferon therapy were usually mild. Fever, myalgias and headaches were seen in 72% of patients in the first two weeks of therapy. No haematological alterations were seen. We conclude that a 9 month course of interferon therapy is effective in controlling disease activity in many patients with chronic NANB hepatitis. However, the high relapse rate suggest that future studies should establish the optimal dose and duration of treatment to induce a complete resolution of the disease.

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