Aims: To compare twice-daily interferon (IFN)-β administration and once-daily IFN-α-2b administration as induction therapy in ribavirin combination therapy in chronic hepatitis C with a high viral load of genotype-1b hepatitis C virus (HCV). Methods: Sixty-one chroniche patitis patients with a high viral load of genotype-1b HCV were randomly divided into three groups: group A was given IFN-β 6 MU induction therapy twice daily for 2 weeks; group B was given IFN-α-2b 6 MU induction therapy once daily for 2 weeks; and group C was given no induction therapy. All three groups were then given IFN-α-2b 6 MU 3days/week for the rest of the 24-week study period. Ribavirin was given for the entire 24-week study period. Results: Although the cumulative HCV-RNA negative rates tended to be higher in group A than in group B, the differencewas not significant. The HCV-RNA negative rate at week 2 was significantly higher in groups A and B than in group C (P<0.05). The sustained virological response (SVR) rate was 16% overall, 21% for groups A and B, and 5% for group C; the SVR rate of groups A plus B tended to be higher than that of group C (P=0.093). Conclusions: There was no difference between the effects ofthe two induction therapies; potent induction therapy does achieve higher early viral clearance but not a higher SVR rate.
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