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Jul 2, 2014

Vitamin B12 Supplements May Improve Conventional Hep C Treatment Response Rate

Vitamin B12 acts as a natural inhibitor of hepatitis C virus replication.  A recent experiment was conducted to assess the effect of vitamin B12 on virological response in patients with chronic HCV naïve to antiviral therapy.

In the experiment, Ninety-four patients with chronic HCV hepatitis were randomly assigned to receive pegylated interferon α plus ribavirin or SOC plus vitamin B12 (SOC+B12). Viral response was evaluated four weeks after starting treatment (rapid viral response), 12 weeks after starting treatment (complete early viral response) and 24 or 48 weeks after starting treatment (end-of-treatment viral response) and 24 weeks after completing treatment (sustained viral response (SVR)).  

 Overall, rapid viral response did not differ between the two groups, whereas the rates of complete early viral response, end-of-treatment viral response and SVR were significantly higher in SOC+B12 patients than in SOC patients.  In SOC+B12 patients, the SVR rate was also significantly higher in carriers of a difficult-to-treat genotype and in patients with a high baseline viral load. Distribution of genotype IL-28B did not differ between the two groups.

At multivariate analysis, only easy-to-treat HCV genotypes (OR=9.00; 95% CI 2.5 to 37.5; p=0.001) and vitamin B12 supplementation (OR=6.9; 95% CI 2.0 to 23.6; p=0.002) were independently associated with SVR.  In conclusion, vitamin B12 supplementation significantly improves SVR rates in HCV-infected patients naïve to antiviral therapy.