We conducted a trial to evaluate whether eight-week oral administration of meloxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, would decrease the rate of the patients who required dose reduction of pegylated interferon α-2a in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.Methods
Sixty patients given weekly subcutaneous administration of pegylated interferon α-2a at a dose of 180 μg for 48 weeks were allocated into the meloxicam group (n = 22) and the control group (n = 38) before interferon treatment. Meloxicam was given orally at a dose of 10 mg once a day for eight weeks from the start of interferon treatment.Results
The cumulative rate of dose-reduction-free patients was significantly higher in the meloxicam group (P < 0.05). Until week eight, 44.7% of the control group and 9.1% of the meloxicam group required dose reduction. Dose was modified by neutropenia in 31.6% and 18.2% of the control and meloxicam groups, respectively. Meloxicam relieved a declineof neutrophil count within the first eight weeks from 54.2% to 44.2% (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis revealed that greater pretreatment neutrophil count and the use of meloxicam were independent factors associated with avoiding dose reduction. Sustained virological response was obtained in 52.6% of the patients. The multivariate logistic analysis revealed that viral serotype and viral load were the only independent factors associated with sustained virological response.Conclusion
Eight-week administration of meloxicam prevented dose reduction of pegylated interferon by relieving a decline of neutrophil count in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.