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The efficacy of thymosin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection: a meta-analysis.

AbstractBACKGROUND:
Trials of thymosin treatment in chronic hepatitis B virus infection have been small and the results have been inconsistent.
AIM:
To conduct a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of thymosin treatment in chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
METHODS:
Randomized controlled trials comparing thymosin for over 24 weeks vs. placebo (or usual care) in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection were identified through MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Register of Clinical Trials. Biochemical (normalization of transaminases) and virological (loss of hepatitis B virus DNA and hepatitis B e antigen) responses were analysed using the intention-to-treat method. The odds ratio was used to measure the magnitude of the efficacy.
RESULTS:
Five trials (353 patients) were identified. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of the virological response of thymosin over placebo at the end of treatment, 6 months post-treatment and 12 months post-treatment were 0.56 (0.2-1.52), 1.67 (0.83-3.37) and 2.67 (1.25-5.68), respectively. There was an increasing trend of the virological response with time since the cessation of thymosin treatment (P=0.02). There was no difference in the biochemical response between the thymosin and placebo groups at the end of treatment, 6 months post-treatment and 12 months post-treatment.
CONCLUSIONS:
Thymosin is effective in suppressing viral replication in chronic hepatitis B virus infection, but the effect is delayed until 12 months after the cessation of treatment.
AuthorsH L Chan, J L Tang, W Tam, J J Sung
JournalAlimentary pharmacology & therapeutics (Aliment Pharmacol Ther) Vol. 15 Issue 12 Pg. 1899-905 (Dec 2001) ISSN: 0269-2813 [Print] England
PMID11736720 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Meta-Analysis)
Chemical References
  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Thymosin
  • Transaminases
Topics
  • Antiviral Agents (therapeutic use)
  • DNA, Viral (analysis)
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens (analysis)
  • Hepatitis B virus (drug effects, genetics, pathogenicity)
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic (drug therapy, immunology, virology)
  • Humans
  • MEDLINE
  • Odds Ratio
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Thymosin (immunology, therapeutic use)
  • Transaminases (analysis)
  • Treatment Outcome

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