Aim: To study the therapeutic effect of interferon (IFN) and ribavirin with zinc supplement on patients with chronic hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection.
Methods: A total of 102 patients confirmed histologically to have chronic HCV infection with genotype 1b and more than 100 KIU/mL of HCV were randomly assigned to each arm of the study and each received 10 million units of pegylated interferon (IFN-alpha-2b) daily for 4 wk followed by the same dose every other day for 20 wk plus ribavirin (600 or 800 mg/d depending on body weight), with or without polaprezinc (150 mg/d) orally for 24 wk. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response (SVR) defined as negative HCV-RNA in the serum 6 mo after treatment.
Results: There were no differences in the clinical background between the two groups except for more females in the dual therapy group than in the other group (P<0.05). SVR was observed in 33.3% of the triple therapy group and 33.3% of the dual therapy group. The side effects were almost the same in both groups except for gastrointestinal symptoms, which were less in the triple therapy group (P=0.019).
Conclusion: Considered together, triple therapy of zinc plus IFN and ribavirin for HCV infection patients with genotype 1b and high viral load is not better than dual therapy except for lower incidence of gastrointestinal side effects.