Background/aims: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of amantadine in combination with interferon in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
Methods: Multi-centre trial including 180 chronic hepatitis C patients without cirrhosis, randomly enrolled to receive interferon 6 MU every other day for 6 months followed by 3 MU for further 6 months (group A, 90 patients), or the same schedule plus amantadine 200 mg/day (group B, 90 patients). Primary end-point was a sustained virological and biochemical response, secondary end-points were on-treatment (third month) and end-of-treatment response rates.
Results: The two groups had similar demographic, biochemical and virological characteristics. A sustained response after 6 months follow-up was observed in 17% of group A and 24% of group B patients (P not significant), an end-of-treatment response was observed in 37% in group A and 47% in group B (P not significant), an on-treatment response was observed in 46% in group A and 61% in group B patients (P < 0.05). No major side effects due to amantadine administration were observed.
Conclusions: Adding amantadine to interferon did not improve the sustained treatment efficacy. However, the rate of early response at the third month of therapy was significantly higher in the combination therapy group.