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Glycyrrhizin-induced reduction of ALT in European patients with chronic Hepatitis C

A study and accompanying editorial in the September issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology reports on the use of short-term glycyrrhizin administration for treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

News image

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Hepatitis C infection is a major healthcare problem, with 1.5% of the American population being infected with the virus.

Previous studies have reported that in Japan, ALT normalization induced by long-term intravenous glycyrrhizin treatment can reduce the progression of liver disease to hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C patients.

A study from the University Hospital of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, has therefore examined the use of glycyrrhizin for reduction of ALT in European patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Glycyrrhizin decreased ALT levels
American Journal of Gastroenterology

The research team included in the study patients with chronic hepatitis C, as well as those non-responsive, or unlikely to be responsive (genotype1/cirrhosis) to interferon therapy.

Medication was administered intravenously 3 or 6 times per week for 4 weeks, with follow-up lasting for the same time period, and the short-term feasibility and efficacy on serum ALT of the treatment was assessed.

A total of 69 out of 72 treatment courses were completed according to the protocol.

There were no significant changes in ALT levels within the placebo group (n = 13), and the mean percentage ALT decrease from baseline at the end of treatment was 26% and 47% for the 3 times per week and 6 times per week treatment groups respectively.

At the end of active treatment, 10% and 29% of the patients reached normal ALT levels for the 3 times per week and 6 times per week treatment groups respectively.

The ALT lowering effect disappeared after cessation of treatment, with no major side-effects being observed either during or after the medication period.

The research group concludes that it appears feasible to treat European outpatients suffering from chronic hepatitis C with a treatment protocol of 3 or 6 times per week intravenous glycyrrhizin, and that such medication can induce a significant ALT decrease in such patients.

Am J Gastroenterol 2001; 96 (8): 2432-2437
05 September 2001

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