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Vitamin E and chronic hepatitis B

BOLOGNA, ITALY. Chronic hepatitis B (inflammatory liver disease) is difficult to treat and the conventional drugs used have serious side effects. Now researchers at the University of Bologna report that vitamin E is quite effective in treating the disease. Their research involved 24 patients who had been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. All were positive for serum hepatitis B virus DNA (HBV DNA) and had elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Twelve of the patients were assigned to receive 300 mg of vitamin E twice a day for three months while the other 12 received no treatment. Ten of the patients in the vitamin E group and nine controls had previously been treated with interferon-alpha with no success. After nine months seven of the twelve patients in the vitamin E group (58 per cent) had normal ALT levels and tested negative for HBV DNA. Five of the 12 (42 per cent) had completely recovered (versus two out of the 12 after three months). None of the patients in the control group had recovered at the end of the nine-month follow-up period. There were no side effects and the researchers suggest that vitamin E supplementation is a safe and useful treatment for chronic hepatitis B.
Andreone, Pietro, et al. Vitamin E for chronic hepatitis B. Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 128, January 15, 1998, pp. 156-57 (letter to the editor)

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