Author(s): Kainuma M, Ogata N, Kogure T, Kohta K, Hattori N,
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Abstract Patients with chronic hepatitis C, with a high serum viral load (> or = 1 Meq/ml) and genotype 1b seem to be resistant to interferon (IFN) therapy. To evaluate the efficacy of a herbal medicine (Mao-to) in combination with natural IFN-beta for the treatment of these patients, eighteen Japanese patients were enrolled in this study. Every patient received 6 million units (MU) of IFN-beta intravenously daily for 8 weeks. Mao-to was given orally 3-4 times a day during the IFN-beta administration, Sixteen of the 18 patients (89\%) became negative for serum HCV RNA at the end of treatment, but only 2 of them (11\%) remained negative for the virus RNA at 6 months of follow-up. Serum ALT levels normalized in 17 patients (94\%) at 2 weeks of follow-up after the cessation of therapy, and 11 patients (61\%) retained normal ALT levels for more than 6 months of follow-up. This rate of biochemical response was high as compared with that of therapy with IFN-beta alone (19\%) in the largest IFN-beta trial in Japan. Serum hyaluronic acid levels were decreased significantly from 147.0 +/- 110.5 ng/ml to 77.4 +/- 67.4 ng/ml in the sustained biochemical response group (P = 0.003). None of the patients needed to interrupt therapy because of side effects of IFN-beta. Thus, Mao-to administration together with IFN-beta treatment could increase the sustained biochemical response rate, and reduce liver fibrosis.
This article was published in Phytomedicine
and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants