The efficacy of thymosin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection: a meta-analysis
Article first published online: 26 FEB 2002
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 15, Issue 12, pages 1899–1905, December 2001
How to Cite
Chan, H. L.-Y., Tang, J.-L., Tam, W. and Sung, J. J.-Y. (2001), The efficacy of thymosin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection: a meta-analysis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 15: 1899–1905. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2001.01135.x
- Issue published online: 26 FEB 2002
- Article first published online: 26 FEB 2002
Trials of thymosin treatment in chronic hepatitis B virus infection have been small and the results have been inconsistent.
To conduct a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of thymosin treatment in chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
Randomized controlled trials comparing thymosin for over 24 weeks vs. placebo (or usual care) in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection were identified through MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Register of Clinical Trials. Biochemical (normalization of transaminases) and virological (loss of hepatitis B virus DNA and hepatitis B e antigen) responses were analysed using the intention-to-treat method. The odds ratio was used to measure the magnitude of the efficacy.
Five trials (353 patients) were identified. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of the virological response of thymosin over placebo at the end of treatment, 6 months post-treatment and 12 months post-treatment were 0.56 (0.2–1.52), 1.67 (0.83–3.37) and 2.67 (1.25–5.68), respectively. There was an increasing trend of the virological response with time since the cessation of thymosin treatment (P=0.02). There was no difference in the biochemical response between the thymosin and placebo groups at the end of treatment, 6 months post-treatment and 12 months post-treatment.
Thymosin is effective in suppressing viral replication in chronic hepatitis B virus infection, but the effect is delayed until 12 months after the cessation of treatment.