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Should you stop Interferon early?
Jun 13, 2007

I am 50 and have genotype 3a. I have been taking Interferon for 1 1/2 months. My last blood work showed that I am virus free. I wanted to know if I can stop treatment early and still be Hep c free for good or do I need to finish out the 6months of treatment. My virus load has always been low in the 120,000. I do not like to take medications or treatments that are not needed. Do you think I can stop or do I need to finish out the rest. I have been reading a little about relapsing, and I don't want that to happen.

Response from Dr. McGovern

This decision of stopping early (eg 16 weeks) must be weighed carefully. and should be discussed with your physician. It will depend on: 1. How advanced your liver disease is 2. When exactly you became virus-free (eg after 4 weeks of treatment?)

Your low viral load and rapid response would suggest that you may do fine with only 16 weeks of treatment. A recent study (ACCELERATE trial) suggests that many patients with a rapid viral load response at 4 weeks will do well with 16 weeks although there is a little better response with 24 weeks. So you can see that a lot of decision making will also depend on whether you are sailing through therapy or are being tortured by it...

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