This study was designed to observe the comprehensive efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) combined with interferon in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC), compare this combined therapy with interferon therapy alone and investigate its possible mechanism to provide a basis for the development of an integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine for the treatment of CHC. According to patient contraindications for antiviral treatment, patients who were suitable for interferon therapy and willing to use TCM were enrolled as combined traditional Chinese and Western medicine group, and 21 CHC patients were selected as Western medicine control group; patients who had contraindications for antiviral treatment were included in the TCM group. The three groups of patients were all diagnosed with positive hepatitis C virus - ribose nucleic acid (HCV-RNA). The treatment course lasted for one year and the patients were followed up for 12 months. Patients demographic data, course of disease, chronic liver disease questionnaire (CLDQ), genetic typing, biochemical indexes, HCV-RNA and side effects were compared between the groups. The efficacy, incidence of side effects and improvement in quality of life were analyzed in each group. Results showed that the combination of TCM and interferon could protect liver, reduce side effects and also improve quality of life of the patients, while the antiviral activity of TCM alone was not obvious.
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