Tomato-based functional food as interferon adjuvant in HCV eradication therapy.

Filomena Morisco*, Paola Vitaglione, Antonella Carbone, Stefania Stingo, Sergio Scarpati, Antonio Ascione, Riccardo Marmo, Vincenzo Fogliano, Nicola Caporaso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


GOALS: The authors conducted a study to verify whether supplementation with an antioxidant-rich tomato-based functional food reduces anemia during pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C. BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress plays a major role in the physiopathology of hemolytic anemia during ribavirin therapy. The efficacy of antioxidant supplementation with vitamins C and E as pure compounds, is still controversial. METHODS: A functional food with a high content of natural antioxidants and with high carotenoid bioavailability was developed. The authors enrolled 92 patients with chronic hepatitis C, treated with standard combination therapy. Forty-six of them received a daily dose (100 g) of functional food (group 1), and 46 did not (group 2). The effect of antioxidant activity was assessed comparing compliance with the full dose of ribavirin and hemoglobin levels during the first 3 months of treatment. RESULTS: Only 8.7% of patients in group 1 had to reduce their daily ribavirin dose, whereas ribavirin reduction was necessary for 30.4% of patients in group 2 (P = 0.09). Hemoglobin levels showed significant differences at 15, 30, and 90 days during the observation time. CONCLUSION: Results demonstrated that the authors' functional food reduces the severity of ribavirin-related anemia and improves the tolerance to the full dose of ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S118-120
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number6 Suppl
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

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