Interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C patients who have not responded to interferon monotherapy

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Apr;14(4):463-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2000.00713.x.


Background: The role of combination therapy is poorly defined in chronic hepatitis C patients who are non-responders to interferon.

Aim: To assess the efficacy, safety and tolerance of interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin in chronic hepatitis C patients who do not respond to interferon monotherapy.

Methods: A total of 127 non-responder patients with chronic hepatitis C received 3 mU t.i.w. of interferon alfa-2b plus 1000-1200 mg ribavirin daily for 48 weeks. Effects of therapy were evaluated by serum aminotransferases and hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels.

Results: Twenty-nine (23%) patients had an end-of-treatment response. Six months after treatment, 20 (16%) patients were sustained responders. Early loss of HCV RNA was the strongest predictor of a sustained response (P < 0.0001). Remission was also more frequent in patients with genotype 1b (P < 0.02), elevated alanine aminotransferase (P < 0.03) and low gamma glutamiltranspeptidase (P < 0.002). Treatment was discontinued in 21 (17%) patients: in 14 for intolerance and in seven due to side-effects.

Conclusions: Combination therapy with interferon plus ribavirin produced a sustained response in 16% of chronic hepatitis C patients who were non-responders to interferon. This combination was safe and well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage*
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage*
  • Ribavirin / adverse effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribavirin
  • Alanine Transaminase