~ PPC in Viral Hepatitis

PPC (polyenylphosphatidylcholine) has been found to decrease serum aminotransferases in experimental hepatitis. In 1998, Niederau and colleagues conducted a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study evaluating the effects of polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC) in combination with interferon alpha (IFN) in patients suffering from hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Although IFN is the standard treatment for these diseases, only 50% of patients with hepatitis B and 20-30% of patients with hepatitis C respond to this antiviral drug with long-term normalization of serum aminotransferases. Of patients with hepatitis C who do respond to IFN while under treatment, at least 50% relapse, which indicates a need for more-effective treatment.

In this study, all 176 patients were given the same amount of interferon during the 24-week test period. In addition, patients were randomly assigned to receive either 1.8 grams per day of PPC or placebo for those 24 weeks. A biochemical response to therapy was defined as a minimum 50% reduction of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) compared to pretreatment values.

The results show that PPC increased the response rate to IFN in chronic viral hepatitis C (71% versus 51% in the placebo group). Prolonged PPC therapy given to responders 24 weeks beyond the cessation of interferon therapy tended to increase the rate of sustained responses in patients with hepatitis C (41% vs. 15%). Hepatitis B patients, however, did not have an improved biochemical response to interferon from PPC.

PPC's beneficial effect in hepatitis C has been the subject of further investigation. Very recently, it was determined that steatosis (fatty liver) is present in a high percentage of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Furthermore, studies have now shown that steatosis is a predictive factor in patients with chronic hepatitis C regardless of viral genotype or body mass index. The studies concluded that hepatitic steatosis--whether mild, moderate or severe--appears to be an independent predictor of poor response to therapy.

The PPC-interferon study suggests that PPC can be a valuable adjunct to IFN treatment of hepatitis C, and can also be of benefit after cessation of IFN therapy to increase the chance of sustained response to therapy.

PPC (polyenylphosphatidylcholine) is the active ingredient in HepatoPro.


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