Background: Little is known about the therapeutic role of intravenous interferon-beta in chronic hepatitis C patients unresponsive to a previous treatment with interferon-alpha. Methods: Two hundred interferon alpha non- responders were randomized to receive either intravenous recombinant interferon-beta or interferon-alpha-2b and ribavirin for 12 weeks. The responders in both groups were followed up for a further 48 weeks. Results: At week 12 a biochemical and virologic response was documented in 42% of the patients treated with interferon-beta and in 22% of the patients treated with combination therapy. A sustained response was observed in 21% of the patients treated with interferon-beta and in 13% of those treated with combination therapy, with similar differences on intention-to-treat analysis. Conclusions: Short-term treatment with intravenous interferon-beta seems to offer a chance for sustained response in a subset of interferon-alpha non- responders. The role of long-term therapy in these patients still remains to be explored.
- Chronic hepatitis C
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