Hepatitis C. Recent advances in understanding and management
Olynyk, J.K. and Bacon, B.R. (1995) Hepatitis C. Recent advances in understanding and management. Postgraduate Medicine, 98 (1). pp. 79-81.
Chronic hepatitis C is a major health issue, affecting up to 1.4% of the US population. A high proportion of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are chronic. Significant liver disease (chronic hepatitis that is moderate to severe, fibrosis, or cirrhosis) develops in up to 50% of patients chronically infected with HCV. Progression of the disease is unpredictable but is typically slow and evolves over decades. Viral genotype, level of viremia, severity of liver disease, and hepatic iron content influence the response of chronic hepatitis C to therapy. Standard therapy is with interferon alfa-2b (Intron A), 3 million U given subcutaneously three times a week for 6 months. Forty percent of patients have an initial response to interferon therapy, but only half (or fewer) of these patients maintain a long-term sustained response. New treatment strategies are currently being evaluated; however, none, as yet, has emerged as a significant improvement over standard interferon therapy.
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