What is the efficacy of interferon alfa (IFN-a) treatment of hepatitis B (HBV) (Hep B)?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Interferons are proteins that have antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory effects. Published reports indicate that after IFN-a treatment with 5 million U/day or 10 million U 3 times per week subcutaneously (SC) for 4 months, HBV DNA levels and HBeAg become undetectable in 30-40% of patients. [66] In addition, 10% of patients seroconvert from hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) to hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs). Unfortunately, 5-10% of patients relapse after completion of treatment. A transient "flare," (ie, increased serum alanine aminotransferase [ALT] levels during the beginning of treatment) can be identified, and this represents the impact of the activated cytolytic T cells on the infected hepatocytes.


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