Interferon is still the only treatment available for patients with chronic hepatitis D infection (CHD). A CHD database containing 333 patients, 161 of whom have an interferon treatment history, was analysed for the effects of treatment duration on virologic response and clinical outcomes. The authors focused on 99 CHD patients who had received at least 6 months of interferon. A maintained virologic response (MVR) was defined as hepatitis D virus RNA negative for 2 years following treatment discontinuation. The cumulative median interferon treatment duration was 24 months, with a median of two courses. Post-treatment median follow-up was 55 months. 35 patients achieved an MVR. The authors found that the cumulative probability of MVR increased with treatment duration and reached 50% at 5 years. Patients with MVR were significantly less likely to die from liver disease or develop complications compared to patients without MVR. The authors found that the presence of cirrhosis at baseline (odds ratio [OR] 16.1) and a lack of treatment response (OR 5.23) predicted an adverse endpoint. Hepatitis B surface antigen clearance occurred in 37% of patients with MVR. Therefore viral response to interferon increases with treatment duration and does lead to favourable clinical outcomes.
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