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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 1999 September;45(3):173-80

language: English, Italian

Advantages and disadvantages in the therapy with different types of interferon for chronic hepatitis C in the elderly patient

Terranova R., Luca S.

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Background. HCV-related hepatitis is a pathology on the increase, and it is especially affecting patients above 60 years old. The only treatment for this disease is therapy with different types of interferon. In this paper the authors compare two of their experiences relative to the treatment of HCV-related chronic hepatitis in the elderly using two types of interferon: recombinant interferon alpha and interferon beta, in order to evaluate their efficacy and side effects.
Methods. The authors studied and compared two groups of elderly patients from Sicily and Calabria receiving medical care in the department of Geriatrics of the University of Catania. The first group consisted of 20 patients with an age ranging between 60 and 69 years, treated with recombinant interferon alpha; the second group consisted of 26 patients aged between 60 and 75 years treated with interferon beta.
Results. After an evaluation of the results, the authors argue that recombinant interferon alpha is preferable since the remission percentage is higher (75%). However, the interferon beta therapy proves to be almost without side-effects.
Conclusions. Finally, the authors conclude that even in cases where there could be a possible higher exposure to side-effects linked to the use of recombinant interferon alpha, still, the risk/benefit ratio suggests that recombinant interferon alpha 2b should be used for the treatment of hepatitis in elderly patients, in the light of the results obtained.

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