INTRODUCTION - Approximatively 50% of the patients with chronic hepatitis C do not respond properly to pegylated interferon-alpha+ribavirin treatment and according to the therapeutic guidelines their treatment must be interrupted. The authors examined whether their further medication with human leukocyte interferon is justified. PATIENTS AND METHODS - Thirty-eight patients with chronic hepatitis C were treated with human leukocyte interferon who had responded to pegylated interferon-alpha-ribavirin treatment, but dropped out of the treatment scheme based on the therapeutic criteria on week 12 or 24. RESULTS - While only 3 patients responded with persistent virological negativity, mean alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels decreased during treatment and persistently remained lower than the baseline levels. Except for the three responders, the HCV viral load as determined by polymerase chain reaction did not decrease but even increased on average. Patients tolerated the treatment well. Known side-effects were observed in 6 cases, and treatment had to be interrupted in one case. These are proportionally far less than the respective 20 to 25% and 5 to 15% reported for peginterferon-ribavirin treatment. CONCLUSION - Even though virological recovery is rare, the reduction in inflammatory activity, the expected slowing of progression, and, in particular, the definite improvement of the cryoglobulinaemic purpura and vasculitis warrant switching to human leukocyte interferon treatment in selected cases.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Lege Artis Medicinae|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1 2007|
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