Short-course Pegylated Interferon for Acute Hepatitis C
Acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection resolves spontaneously without treatment in a minority of patients. Past studies have shown that early treatment with interferon-based therapy during the acute phase (the first 6 months) produces high sustained response rates, but an optimal treatment strategy has not yet been defined.
As described in the February 2007 Journal of Viral Hepatitis, Italian researchers conducted a multicenter open-label study to investigate the therapeutic performance of a short course of pegylated interferon-alpha in patients with acute HCV infection. A total of 46 participants were treated with 1.0-1.5 mcg/kg/week pegylated interferon alpha-2b (PegIntron) for 12 weeks.
- lower peak HCV viral load;
- receiving at least 1.2 mcg/kg/week of pegylated interferon;
- undetectable HCV-RNA at week 4 and at week 12.
In conclusion, the authors wrote, "in patients with early (week 4) viral response, a short course of [pegylated interferon alpha], at a weekly dose > 1.2 mcg/kg, may be a valuable option for the treatment of acute HCV hepatitis."
G Calleri, G Cariti, F Gaiottino, and others. A short course of pegylated interferon-alpha in acute HCV hepatitis. Journal of Viral Hepatitis 14(2): 116-121. February 2007.