New Drug "Cocktails" Prove Effective Against Hepatitis

n a daily dose of the Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin (Rebetol) combinationfor 24 or 48 weeks, while the other half were given interferon alone.Those patients who received the combination did much better than those who didnot. According to the abstract of the research, the drug combination was "significantly more effective than Interferon alone." In addition, "This combination therapy has an acceptable safety profile."

Another study, presented at the AASLD Annual Meeting by Thierry Poynard, MD, of the Hepato Gastro Groupe Hospitale Pitie Salpetriere in Paris, examined the results of an International European trial of the Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin combination as a treatment for chronic Hepatitis C. This study, too, found the combination to be effective. "Intron A[interferon]/Rebetol combination therapy was significantly more effective than Introl A monotherapy," according to the study abstract. "This is a huge breakthrough," says Poynard.

A third study, also presented by Poynard,unveiled the results of using the Interferon alfa-2b/ribavirin to treat liver fibrosis in Hepatitis C patients. The last stage of liver fibrosis in such patients is cirrhosis, which can be fatal. The huge study of almost 2,000 patients found that the combination of drugs reduces dramatically the rate of liver fibrosis progression. "This is now the most promising form of therapy," says Poynard. "It appears to be both effective and probably cost effective because of the reduction of cirrhosis incidence."

Possible Role of New TT-Virusin Liver Disease

Some 5% of liver disease is of unknown origin. A paper presented at the AASLD Annual meeting by Philip Adjei, Mayo Clinic, examined the possible role in liver disease played by a newly discovered single-strand DNA virus, TT-virus(TTV). Researchers studied patients who had received liver transplants and who showed no evidence of any of the known causes of liver disease. The patients were monitored bo

Contact: Kirk Monroe
American Association For The Study of Liver Diseases

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