Therapy of different manifestations of HCV infection is discussed--after 12 years of the discovery of HCV. In acute hepatitis C the antiviral treatment of the early phase is debated, but if 3 months after the onset the HCV viremia persists, interferon (IFN) therapy may be recommended. Asymptomatic HCV carriers with normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) do not need antivirals. However, their serum ALT, GGT, gammaglobulin values and liver ultrasound findings should be monitored, to disclose an underlying liver disease, and biopsy is considered, if suspicion of hepatitis raises. In patients with chronic hepatitis C biopsy is mandatory, it may prove mild, moderate or severe histological activity (HAI). Moderate or severe active hepatitis C (> 2 x normal ALT, HAI > 7) should be treated. In the first period of the antiviral treatment for HCV, a standard IFN monotherapy (3 x 3 MU s.c. IFN weekly for 6-12 months) has been used, which resulted in 15-20% sustained response (SR) rate. In the second half of nineties, combination of IFN with an oral nucleoside analogue ribavirin increased the SR to 30-30%, by means of decrease in relapse rate. Recently, pegylated IFN (PEG-IFN) in combination with ribavirin can lead to 60% SR. (Genotype HCV1 patients may show SR of about 40%, HCV 2.3 ones about 80%, respectively). Compensated HCV cirrhosis patients may also be treated with this type of combination, which can possibly inhibit progression. Decompensated cirrhosis needs liver transplantation. In the prevention of HCV infection, screening of blood donors, viral inactivation of blood products, disposable needles and education of risk populations are of basic importance, HCV vaccination, however is not on the horizon yet. Thus, antiviral treatment remains of great significance. Searches for new therapeutic modalities, such as multiple antiviral combinations (e.g amantadin + ribavirin + IFN), protease- and helicase inhibitors, ribozymes and cytokines may result further advances.
|Translated title of the contribution||Hepatitis C virus infection--after 12 years. Advances in the management of chronic hepatitis C|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2002|
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