Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of interferon alfa2a with and without amantadine as initial treatment for chronic hepatitis C

Hepatology. 2000 Oct;32(4 Pt 1):835-41. doi: 10.1053/jhep.2000.17740.


Although the antiviral effects of amantadine sulphate (1-aminoadamantan sulphate) have not been characterized for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), previous pilot studies have suggested promising results in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The aim of the present study was to compare the efficacy, safety, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) alone or in combination with oral amantadine for treatment of chronic hepatitis C. One hundred nineteen previously untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomly allocated to treatment with IFN-alpha2a at a dose of 6 megaunits 3 times a week subcutaneously for 24 weeks, followed by 3 megaunits thrice weekly for an additional 24 weeks plus amantadine sulphate administered orally 100 mg twice a day for 48 weeks or the same IFN regimen plus a matched placebo. The primary endpoint was undectable serum HCV RNA (<1,000 copies/mL) at week 24 after treatment. At the end of treatment and the 24-week follow-up period serum HCV RNA was undetectable in 20 (34%) and 6 (10%) of the 59 patients treated with the combination IFN-alpha plus amantadine and in 20 (33%) and 13 (22%) of the 60 patients treated with IFN-alpha alone, respectively (P = n.s.). Discontinuation of therapy for adverse events was similar in both treatment groups. Although treatment with IFN-alpha worsened HRQOL, combination with amantadine showed a substantial trend to improve fatigue and vigor. In conclusion, combination therapy IFN-alpha plus amantadine is as effective as IFN-alpha monotherapy in previously untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amantadine / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Amantadine