Correlation of serum HCV RNA and alanine aminotransferase levels in chronic hepatitis C patients during treatment with ribavirin

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. Nov-Dec 1994;9(6):587-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.1994.tb01566.x.


To evaluate the effect of ribavirin on serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, 22 patients with chronic HCV infection were treated with oral ribavirin 1200 mg daily in three divided doses for 4 weeks. At the end of 4 weeks treatment, the serum ALT decreased in all but one patient and became normal in three individuals. The mean pretreatment serum ALT was reduced significantly from 193 +/- 45 i.u./L to 95 +/- 16 i.u./L after 4 weeks therapy (P = 0.009). However, 8 weeks after cessation of treatment, the serum ALT rose to a mean value of 154 +/- 21 i.u./L. The mean pretreatment serum HCV RNA was not significantly decreased at the end of 4 weeks treatment (7.0 x 10(5) vs. 4.1 x 10(5) copies/mL, P > 0.05). However, serum HCV RNA levels were decreased in 12 and increased in 10 patients at the end of 4 weeks therapy. Eight weeks after cessation of therapy, the serum HCV RNA of 22 patients rose to a mean value of 4.9 +/- 10(5) copies/mL. Six patients who continued to have elevated serum ALT and positive HCV RNA after the initial 4 weeks treatment received oral ribavirin at the same dosage for an additional 24 weeks. The serum ALT again decreased in all six patients during therapy, but rose to pretreatment values by 8 weeks after cessation of the treatment. In addition, no significant changes were noted in the mean serum HCV RNA levels during and after 24 weeks of ribavirin therapy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood*
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*


  • RNA, Viral
  • Ribavirin
  • Alanine Transaminase