, Volume 39, Issue 12, pp 1202-1204

Orally administered Kampo medicine, Juzen-taiho-to, ameliorates anemia during interferon plus ribavirin therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C

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Abstract

Background

Interferon plus ribavirin (IFN/Rib) therapy is currently standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Hemolytic anemia, however, is a serious side effect of this treatment, requiring reductions in or complete withdrawal of ribavirin.

Methods

We retrospectively investigated the effect of the Kampo medicine Juzen-taiho-to (TJ-48), which contains bone marrow-stimulating compounds, on anemia in 67 patients with chronic hepatitis C, who received IFN/Rib therapy.

Results

The reduction in hemoglobin levels was significantly ameliorated in TJ-48-treated patients (P < 0.05). Consequently, only 13% (4/32) of TJ-48-treated patients received altered doses of ribavirin, while the ribavirin dose had to be reduced or withdrawn in 43% (15/35) of patients in the absence of TJ-48 administration (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

These results indicate the possibility that oral administration of TJ-48 supports IFN/Rib therapy without necessitating ribavirin reduction or withdrawal.