Low-dose leukocyte interferon-alpha therapy in dialysed patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Current medical research and opinion

PubMedID: 9787979

Benci A, Caremani M, Menchetti D, Sasdelli M, Giusti PB. Low-dose leukocyte interferon-alpha therapy in dialysed patients with chronic hepatitis C. Curr Med Res Opin. 1998;14(3):141-4.
Kidney failure is a contraindication to interferon therapy, and active chronic hepatitis is incompatible with kidney transplantation. Our study was aimed at investigating the activity and tolerability of leukocyte interferon-alpha in patients undergoing pre-transplant dialysis and suffering from chronic active hepatitis due to Hepatitis C virus infection. Ten patients, with persistently high ALT levels, were treated with leukocyte interferon-alpha, at a dose of 1 MU three times weekly for one year. Viraemia, ALT levels and other blood and urine tests, hepatitis stage and drug tolerance were all monitored throughout the study and the six-month follow-up period. After six months of treatment, two patients had continuing normalisation of ALT, negative HCV-RNA tests and normalisation of histological features ('long-term responders'). Four patients relapsed; three did not respond to treatment; and one patient discontinued it because of intolerance. The four relapsing patients received a second cycle with the same interferon, at a dose of 3 MU three times weekly, with attainment, in one patient, of complete remittance after six months of follow-up. Leukocyte interferon-alpha yielded an overall 30% therapeutic response in dialysed patients with chronic hepatitis C. Its use is helpful in enabling dialysed patients to undergo transplantation.