Recovery from chronic hepatitis C?
Long-term response to chronic hepatitis C treatment suggests complete recovery.
New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) The traditional treatment for chronic hepatitis C combines interferon alfa (3 million units subcutaneously three times a week) with ribavirin (1.0 or 1.2 g daily) for a duration of 6 to 12 months. Studies show that the rate of long-term response is 40 percent 6 months after the end of the treatment but do not document the issue of late relapse in sustained complete responders. In a 12–month follow–up study of patients after therapy, Hélène Fontaine and colleagues found that a virological response six months after discontinuation of the combination treatment is predictive of a 97.8 percent rate of long-term complete response (see paper). The study indicates that a sustained response -- defined as a normal concentration of serum alanine aminotransferase and negative HCV viraemia by PCR 6 months after discontinuation of therapy -- is associated 6 months later with an eradication of HCV RNA and a biochemical normalization and histopathological improvement that strongly suggest complete recovery, since there is no putative genomic integration of HCV RNA.