Clinical trial: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of nitazoxanide monotherapy for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4. Rossignol JF, Kabil SM, El-Gohary Y, Elfert A, Keeffe EB. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Sep 1;28(5):574-80.
BACKGROUND: Nitazoxanide, licensed in the US for treatment of Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia, inhibits hepatitis C virus replication in replicon systems. AIM: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of nitazoxanide monotherapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
METHODS: This multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study randomized 50 adult patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 at three centres in Egypt to nitazoxanide 500 mg tablet or placebo twice daily for 24 weeks. Patients were followed up every 4 weeks during treatment and for 24 weeks after therapy. RESULTS: Seven of 23 patients (30.4%) in the nitazoxanide group achieved undetectable serum HCV RNA compared to 0 of 24 in the placebo group during therapy (P = 0.004). Each of the seven responders had baseline HCV RNA levels < or =400 000 IU/mL. Six of the seven virological responders were followed up for 24 weeks after the end of treatment, and four patients (17.4% of 23 treated) had a sustained virological response. Adverse events were similar in the nitazoxanide and placebo groups. CONCLUSION: Nitazoxanide monotherapy is safe and effective in achieving sustained virological response in a modest number of patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4, particularly in patients with low baseline serum HCV RNA levels.