Comparison of Polymerase Chain Reaction before and after Interferon Alpha and Ribavirin Combination Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Javed Ahmad Khan


Background: Hepatitis C virus infects an estimated 170 million persons worldwide. Combination therapy has been approved for treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C. The response rates are variable depending upon the genotype of hepatitis C virus. This study was designed to determine the therapeutic significance of interferon alpha and ribavirin combination therapy in patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus infection in our set up.

Material & Methods: The study was carried out at Military Hospital Rawalpindi, from January 2005 to December 2005. A total of 60 adult patients both male and female were included in the study on the basis of the presence of anti-HCV antibodies, elevated serum ALT, a positive PCR for HCV RNA and compensated liver disease on liver biopsy. All patients were treated with interferon alpha and ribavirin. This treatment was given for six months. All the patients were evaluated for end treatment response at six months of therapy.

Results: Forty-four (73.3%) patients showed response to six months of combination therapy (p<0.05) and were labeled as responders (having PCR for HCV RNA negative). Non-responders (PCR for HCV RNA positive) were 16(26.7%). Out of the 51 males in the study, there were 37(72.5%) responders while 14(27.5%) were nonresponders. Out of 9 females, 7(77.8%) were responders while 2(22.2%) were non-responders.

Conclusion: The response to six months of interferon alpha and ribavirin combination therapy was 73% in my study, which is therapeutically important.

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