The authors performed a retrospective review of 41 consecutive hepatitis C patients. Of the 14 patients with baseline and follow-up data who had not undergone interferon therapy, seven had a greater than 25-percent reduction in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels after at least one month on the protocol. For all patients reviewed, the average reduction in ALT was 35 U/L (p=0.026). These data appear to suggest that a conservative approach using diet and lifestyle modification, along with safe and indicated interventions, can be effective in the treatment of hepatitis C. Controlled trials with serial liver biopsy and viral load data are necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.
The standard medical treatment of hepatitis C infection is only associated with sustained efficacy in a minority of patients. Therefore, the search for other treatments is of utmost importance. Several natural products and their derivatives have demonstrated benefit in the treatment of hepatitis C and other chronic liver conditions. Other herbal and nutritional supplements have mechanisms of action that make them likely to be of benefit. This article presents comprehensive protocol, including diet, lifestyle, and therapeutic interventions.
(Altern Med Rev 2000;5(4):355-370)
Hepatitis C virus currently infects an estimated 2-3 million people in the United States, and as many as 175 million worldwide. Although recent evidence suggests hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with less risk of progressive liver disease than previously thought, HCV is still estimated to cause 8-10 thousand deaths annually in the United States and is the leading cause of liver transplantation.
Standard HCV treatment includes interferon-[Alpha] and ribavirin. This treatment is expensive, and is associated with significant adverse effects. Combination treatment is associated with a sustained virologic response (defined as lack of detectable HCV RNA in the serum six months after stopping therapy) in only 30 percent of patients with HCV genotype 1b, the most common of the major genotypes in the United States. Currently, no treatment is recommended for HCV-positive patients without elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT), although these people appear to have a low level of chronic hepatitis. Clearly, there is a need for inexpensive, non-toxic treatments for early stages of HCV infection.
The retrospective data presented in this paper were compiled over a period of five years in the private practice of one of the authors (WBM). While the protocol instituted in 1995 does not include all of the agents included in the literature review section, it was decided to include these retrospective data to demonstrate that an intervention based on colchicine, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), silymarin, and antioxidants can lead to significant improvement in HCV patients. The authors emphasize the fact that the protocol employed in the retrospective study has been revised and expanded since the data collection reported here, and that the slight lack of continuity between the old protocol and the present proposed protocol based on the literature review is representative of an evolving treatment plan.
Retrospective Review of HCV Patients
The charts of 41 consecutive HCV patients (beginning in May 1995) from...
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