Review of consensus interferon in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C
University Hospital Schleswig Holstein Campus Lübeck, Dept of Medicine I, Division of Gastroenterology, Lübeck, Germany. 1Current address is the correspondence address
Abstract: Consensus interferon (CIFN) is an artificially engineered interferon that reflects most of the human genotype 1 interferons and shows a higher biological and antiviral capacity in vitro. It has been used internationally to treat patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection before pegylated IFN became available. To mimic the half-life of PEG-IFN it has to be administered on a daily basis. The gold standard in the treatment of hepatitis C is well established and recommended. Today patients are being treated with a combination therapy of pegylated IFN and ribavirin. Length and dosage of therapy depends on the genotype of the virus. Patients with genotype 1 and 4 and high viral load should be treated for 48 weeks; for patients with these genotypes along with either low viral load or early virological response, therapy for 24 weeks is sufficient. Patients with genotype 2 and 3 should be treated for up to 24 weeks. However, daily dosing of IFN-α, eg, CIFN, resulting in a higher cumulative dosage, might be beneficial and more efficacious in some chronic HCV-infected patients. Patients with genotype 1, having initially high viral load (>800,000 IU/mL) and showing advanced liver disease with progressive fibrosis or even cirrhosis comprise the difficult-to-treat in order to overcome the infection. This review summarizes and critically discusses the published data on the treatment of HCV with CIFN.
Keywords: CIFN, interferon-alfacon-1, early virological response, sustained virological response, PCR, pegylated IFN-α-2a/b
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