Long-term efficacy of treatment of chronic hepatitis C with alpha interferon or alpha interferon and ribavirin.
Barnes E., Webster G., Jacobs R., Dusheiko G.
The major objective of treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is to prevent progression to cirrhosis, and thereby prevent complications of end-stage liver disease. The established treatment of chronic HCV is with alpha interferon. Recent results with ribavirin and alpha interferon together suggest that combination antiviral therapy will become the benchmark treatment. For both naive and relapsed patients, however, it has become important to assess the long-term outcome of treatment, in order to gauge whether treatment has indeed modified the natural history of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. It seems likely that most sustained responders (85-90%) treated with combination ribavirin and alpha interferon will continue to have a long-term biochemical and virological response, as has been demonstrated with alpha interferon alone, but further long-term follow-up of patients treated with combination therapy is required.