Objective: In patients with chronic hepatitis B, viral relapse following interferon (IFN) therapy may be the result of a treatment duration that is too short to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) from replicating later. To reduce viral relapse in patients with chronic hepatitis B who responded to IFN, we individualized the duration of therapy according to serum HBV-DNA levels. Method: Treatment duration was prolonged to maintain negative serum HBV-DNA levels for the next 6 months in 30 patients who became HBV-DNA-negative following IFN therapy (group A). Another 35 patients were treated for only 6 months (group B). All patients had HBV-DNA as well as hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in their sera for more than 6 months and were proven histologically to have chronic hepatitis. Interferon alfa (IFN-α) was administered subcutaneously at a dose of 5 MU/m2 three times a week. Results: There were no differences in age, gender, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positivity, serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, or serum HBV-DNA levels between the two groups. The mean duration of IFN therapy in group A was 7.2 months. At the end of treatment, serum HBV-DNA was negative in 16 patients in group A and in 18 patients in group B. The loss of serum HBV-DNA was maintained to the end of follow-up in 13 patients in group A but in only eight patients in group B. Similarly, serum ALT levels were normal in 14 patients in group A but in only nine patients in group B at the end of follow-up. Conclusion: Individualization of the duration of treatment to maintain serum HBV-DNA negativity for at least 6 months may reduce the viral relapse rate following IFN therapy.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
|State||Published - 1 May 2003|
- Chronic hepatitis B