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Combination of Drugs Proves Effective on Hepatitis C, Studies Say

November 19, 1998

A combination of interferon and the antiviral drug ribavirin has proved considerably more effective against chronic hepatitis C infections than the standard treatment of interferon alone, according to two reports in today's New England Journal of Medicine. The virus afflicts an estimated 4 million Americans.

In the largest study, on 912 patients, the virus disappeared in 38% of patients given both drugs, compared with 13% of those treated with only interferon. The second study involved 345 hepatitis patients who had relapsed after interferon treatment. When treatment stopped after six months, all signs of the virus were gone in 82% on combination therapy, compared with half on interferon alone.

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