People with hepatitis C and
chronic liver disease who relapsed or failed to respond to initial
treatment are unlikely to improve on interferon retreatment. In fact,
they may face an increased risk of dying sooner, and are likely to
experience a variety of adverse effects, according to an updated
systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.
Hepatitis C affects around 170 million people worldwide. In some cases,
infection leads to chronic liver disease, liver failure or liver cancer,
eventually resulting in death. Treatment is based on antiviral drugs.
Interferon monotherapy, meaning using interferon alone, is not the first
choice of therapy for most clinicians, but it is used in some patients
when other drugs cannot be used. Despite costing thousands of dollars to
treat one patient for a year, there is currently little evidence that
it works. Treatment is considered to have been successful if the virus
cannot be detected in a patient’s blood six months after treatment. This
outcome is known as sustained viral response (SVR). However, it has
never been confirmed that SVR leads to an improvement in the patient’s
disease state or their chances of survival.