• Saleem Qureshi
  • Uzma Batool
  • Musarrat Iqbal
  • Omarah Qureshi
  • Rao Kaleem
  • Hina Aziz
  • Muhammad Azhar


Background: Chronic Hepatitis C infection infects almost 130 to 170 million or approximately2.2–3% of world’s population. HCV is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease leading toprogressive liver injury, fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is also one of the leading indicationsfor liver transplantation worldwide. The objective of the study was to determine the response oftreatment with standard Interferon and Ribazole in treatment naïve Hepatitis C infected patients.Methods: This quasi-experimental study was carried out at the Department of Medicine, KRLGeneral Hospital Islamabad, from January 2003 to January 2005. A total of 250 patients wereenrolled in this descriptive study. All patients were anti HCV positive, PCR positive for HCVRNA and had 3a genotype. A non-probability purposive sampling technique was applied to collectdata. After taking a written and informed consent; specially designed performa containing thepatient profile, family transmission, and baseline laboratory values was filled. Patients weretreated with a set protocol of Interferon plus Ribavarin therapy (IFN alpha 2a, 3 mIU thriceweekly for 24 weeks plus Ribavarin 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day) for six months. Chi-Square tests wereused to analyse the data. Primary end point was a sustained virological response (SVR) that isresponse assessed after six months of completion of treatment. Results: Response rates tostandard Interferon plus Ribazole therapy were studied over two years period. Out of the total of250 patients, 60 patients were excluded; as 30 patients did not meet inclusion criteria, 23 patientswere lost to follow. Seven patients declined treatment. Out of the190 patients, 155 (81.6%)achieved End of Treatment Complete Response (EOTCR) whereas 35 (18.4%) were nonresponders (NR). These 155 patients, who showed complete response were followed for sixmonths after the treatment to assess sustained viral response, which was seen in 112 (72.25%)patients whereas 43 (27.7%) were relapsers. Response rates were co-related with gender, baselineALT and necro-inflammatory stage assessed by liver biopsy, probable risk factors and familyhistory. Conclusion: Management of Hepatitis C with genotype 3a, with standard Interferon andRibazole for six months showed lower SVR compared to that reported in previous internationaland local data.Keywords: HCV, Interferon, Response Rates, SVR.


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