Interferon alpha for chronic hepatitis D.

Zaigham Abbas, Muhammad Arsalan Khan, Mohammad Salih, Wasim Jafri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatitis D virus is a small defective RNA virus that requires the presence of hepatitis B virus infection to infect a person. Hepatitis D is a difficult-to-treat infection. Several clinical trials have been published on the efficacy of interferon alpha for hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection. However, there are few randomised trials evaluating the effects of interferon alpha, and it is difficult to judge any benefit of this intervention from the individual trials. To evaluate the beneficial and harmful effects of interferon alpha for patients with chronic hepatitis D. We identified relevant for the review randomised clinical trials by electronic searches in the Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Science Citation Index Expanded until May 2011. We also checked the bibliographic references of identified randomised trials, textbooks, and review articles in order to find randomised trials not identified by the electronic searches. Randomised clinical trials evaluating interferon alpha versus placebo or no intervention for patients with chronic hepatitis D infection. Two authors assessed the trials and extracted data on mortality, virologic, biochemical, and histological response as well as adverse events at end of treatment and six months or more after completing treatment. The analyses were performed using the intention-to-treat principle including all randomised participants irrespective of follow-up. Drop-outs, withdrawals, and non-compliance were considered as treatment failures. Data were analysed with fixed- and random-effects models. Reported results were based on fixed-effect model except in cases where statistical significance varied between the two models. Six randomised trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Two hundred and one randomised participants (male = 174) were included. The risk of bias in all the included trials was high. Five trials compared interferon alpha with no treatment in the control group. One of these trials had two treatment arms with a higher dose and lower dose of interferon alpha and a no-treatment control group. We analysed both treatment regimens as a single group in a primary analysis and as separate groups in the subgroup analysis of different interferon dosages. The sixth trial compared only a higher dose of interferon alpha with a lower dose.Meta-analysis of five trials comparing interferon alpha with no-treatment control group included 169 participants. There were seven drop-outs in the treatment group and nine in the control group. One patient out of 92 (1.1%) died in the interferon alpha group compared with zero out of 77 (0.0%) in the no-intervention control group (risk ratio (RR)) 3.00; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14 to 66.5).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD006002
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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