Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19115010
PLoS ONE 2008;3(12):e4085
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to estimate the proportion of spontaneous viral clearance (SVC) after symptomatic acute hepatitis C and to evaluate the efficacy of 12 weeks of pegylated interferon alfa-2a in patients who did not clear the virus spontaneously.
METHODS: Patients with symptomatic acute hepatitis C were recruited from two “fever hospitals” in Cairo, Egypt. Patients still viremic three months after the onset of symptoms were considered for treatment with 12 weeks of pegylated interferon alfa-2a (180 microg/week).
RESULTS: Between May 2002 and February 2006, 2243 adult patients with acute hepatitis were enrolled in the study. The SVC rate among 117 patients with acute hepatitis C was 33.8% (95%CI [25.9%-43.2%]) at three months and 41.5% (95%CI [33.0%-51.2%]) at six months. The sustained virological response (SVR) rate among the 17 patients who started treatment 4-6 months after onset of symptoms was 15/17 = 88.2% (95%CI [63.6%-98.5%]).
CONCLUSION: Spontaneous viral clearance was high (41.5% six months after the onset of symptoms) in this population with symptomatic acute hepatitis C. Allowing time for spontaneous clearance should be considered before treatment is initiated for symptomatic acute hepatitis C.