Hepatitis C Infection: Optimizing Treatment, Patient Management, and Basic Aspects

Michael P. Manns, MD, Heiner Wedemeyer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical School of Hannover, Hannover, Germany


May 16, 2001

In This Article

Introduction -- Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has improved significantly since the introduction of combination interferon (IFN) alfa and ribavirin therapy in 1998. However, there are several groups of patients (eg, patients with the most prevalent HCV genotype 1, high viral load, or liver cirrhosis) who still have an unfavorable outcome to therapy, with sustained response rates of less than 30%. Additionally, patients who fail to respond to an earlier course of IFN monotherapy have shown disappointing response rates to a standard combination regimen. New treatment strategies must be evaluated for patients with unfavorable baseline characteristics. Options for improving sustained response rates include modified regimes such as IFN-alfa induction dosing or daily dosing, new therapeutic agents in combination with IFN-alfa, and the use of novel IFNs (eg, pegylated IFNs, consensus IFN).

At the 36th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), held April 18-22, 2001, in Prague, Czech Republic, several studies were presented that investigated strategies for improving response rates in "difficult-to-treat" patients.


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