Cochrane Summaries

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Interferon alfa improves liver biochemistry and viral clearance in transfusion-acquired acute hepatitis C

Myers RP, Regimbeau C, Thevenot T, Leroy V, Mathurin P, Opolon P, Zarski JP, Poynard T
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Acute hepatitis C is rarely diagnosed because in most cases it is asymptomatic. Treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C with interferon can achieve viral clearance and improve liver biochemistry and histology. In this review, treatment with interferon alfa in the acute stage of transfusion-acquired hepatitis C infection improved liver biochemistry and enhanced viral clearance compared to the natural history of the disease. We cannot ascertain, however, the effect of interferon on clinical outcomes due to a lack of data. Because of the effect of therapy on biochemical and virologic outcomes, we recommend the treatment of acute hepatitis C with at least interferon alfa at a dosage of three million units thrice weekly for three months. Future trials should focus on the efficacy of combination therapy with ribavirin and pegylated interferons, which have shown superiority to interferon alfa in chronic hepatitis C.