Interferon-alpha in chronic hepatitis C infection in dialysis patients

Am J Kidney Dis. 1999 Jul;34(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(99)70108-3.


This study assesses the efficacy and adverse effects of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) administered at a dosage of 3 million units three times weekly for 1 year in 17 hemodialysis patients with hepatitic C virus (HCV)-associated chronic hepatitis (biopsy proven). The patients were prospectively followed up for a period of 18 months. Liver biopsy was repeated after 6 months of treatment in 13 patients. Patients were classified according to the histological activity index. Biochemical and virological responses were evaluated at the end (end-of-treatment response) and 6 months after completion of therapy (sustained response). HCV RNA became negative in 76% of the patients after 12 weeks of treatment, in 88% after 12 months of treatment, and in 71% of the patients 6 months after completion of therapy. HCV genotype 4 was found in 60% of our population. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were initially increased in only 6 patients and normalized in 4 of these patients after 12 weeks of therapy, with end-of-treatment and sustained biochemical responses of 83% and 67%, respectively. Of 13 patients who underwent liver biopsies after 6 months of therapy, 11 patients (85%) showed histological improvement. One patient could not tolerate therapy because of marked lethargy and myalgia; the other patients had minor side effects that did not require discontinuation of treatment. Two patients received a cadaveric renal transplant after 1 year of IFN treatment, and they continued to maintain biochemical and virological responses after a follow-up of 17 and 28 months, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins