Items in AFP with MESH term: Interferon Alfa-2a
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. The advent of new treatment regimens using pegylated interferons in combination with ribavirin has led to improved sustained viral response rates for some genotypes in large multicenter trials. Advances in the management of side effects and toxicities have expanded the pool of treatable patients. A recent National Institutes of Health consensus conference recommended that all patients who have bridging hepatic fibrosis and moderate inflammation together with detectable viremia should receive treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Unfortunately, these medications are very expensive and have significant side effects. Hematologic toxicities include anemia and leukopenia. These can be managed with close monitoring, use of growth factors, or dose reductions. Depression also can be caused or exacerbated by these medicines and may require treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, comanagement with psychiatry, or cessation of pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment. Contraception is imperative because ribavirin is highly teratogenic. Influenza-like symptoms of fatigue, nausea, and mild fevers can be helped by quality patient education and support including frequent office visits. Data from randomized controlled trials demonstrating improvements in long-term survival as a result of treatment are not yet available, but it appears that patients who have no detectable virus six months after treatment have a good chance of remaining virus free for at least five years.
Hepatitis C: Diagnosis and Treatment - Article
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C, a common chronic bloodborne infection, is found in approximately 2 percent of adults in the United States. Chronic infection is associated with serious morbidity and mortality (e.g., cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma). Testing for hepatitis C is recommended for at-risk populations, and confirmatory testing includes quantification of virus by polymerase chain reaction. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine screening for hepatitis C virus infection in asymptomatic adults who are not at increased risk of infection (general population). It found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening in adults at high risk of infection. Current therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus includes pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Therapy is based on factors that predict sustained virologic response, and the goal of therapy is to slow or halt progression of fibrosis and prevent the development of cirrhosis. In the future, multidrug regimens in combination with current therapies may be developed. Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection should be advised to abstain from alcohol use. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C virus infection; however, persons infected with hepatitis C virus should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends ultrasound surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma in persons with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and cirrhosis.