WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Initial induction treatment with daily high-dose lymphoblastoid interferon (IFN) alpha-n1 appears to be no better than the standard interferon regimen for chronic hepatitis C, Spanish researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Medical Virology.
Dr. Vicente Carreno from the Fundacion para el Estudio de la Hepatitis Virales, Madrid, and colleagues randomly assigned 155 patients with hepatitis C to one of three treatment groups.
Patients in group 1 received initial daily induction with 10 MU of IFN alpha followed by 1 month of rest, while patients in group 2 received the same regimen but without a 1 month rest period. After initial therapy, patients in groups 1 and 2 were given 10 MU IFN alpha three times a week for 2 months followed by 5 MU for 2 months and 3 MU for 8 months. Patients in group 3 received standard therapy with 5 MU IFN alpha three times a week for 2 months followed by 3 MU for 11 months, the researchers report.
Sustained ALT responses were not statistically significantly different among patients treated with daily IFN alpha induction compared with those who received standard therapy on an intention-to-treat analysis, Dr. Carreno's group found.
This trend was also true for HCV RNA concentrations, which were reduced in groups 1 and 2 compared with group 3, but this difference too was not statistically significant.
"Taken together, the results suggest that induction therapy is not better in comparison with standard therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, at least at IFN alpha-n1 doses and schedule used," Dr. Carreno and colleagues conclude.