Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Vitamin B12 May Boost Hep C Treatment

Small, Early Study Suggests Benefit, but Expert Is Skeptical
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 17, 2012 -- Early research suggests that patients with chronic hepatitis C infections may improve their treatment response by also receiving vitamin B12.

Investigators say adding B12 to standard therapy may boost the body's ability to fight the virus, but an expert who spoke to WebMD remains skeptical.

B12 May Help Drugs Work Better

In the newly reported Italian study, previously untreated patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who received vitamin B12 along with the drugs pegylated interferon and ribavirin were more likely to have undetectable levels of virus at 24 weeks after stopping treatment compared to patients who did not receive vitamin B12.

The study was small, with just 94 patients. Of those, 32 were genotype 1 patients treated with the vitamin. Genotype 1 is the most common strain in the U.S., and difficult to treat.

But the findings raise hopes that this inexpensive therapy may help HCV drugs work better in hard-to-treat patients, researcher Gerardo Nardone, MD, of the University of Naples, tells WebMD.

He says his research team hopes to conduct a much larger B12 supplementation study in hepatitis C patients.

3.2 Million in U.S. Infected With HCV

About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic HCV infection, according to the CDC.

Without treatment, as many as 70% will develop liver disease and 20% will develop cirrhosis of the liver within two to three decades.

Until very recently, pegylated interferon along with ribavirin were the only drugs available to treat HCV.

The recent addition of a new class of drugs for patients with genotype 1 HCV has raised the rate of undetectable viral level to closer to 75%, says David Bernstein, MD, who is chief of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

The new study, published in the journal Gut, included 94 patients with chronic HCV infections of genotypes 1, 2, and 3. They were treated with either pegylated interferon and ribavirin alone or the two drugs plus vitamin B12, given by injection every four weeks.

Patients with genotype 2 or 3 were treated for 24 weeks and patients with genotype 1 were treated for 48 weeks.

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
Hepatitis C Treatment
Syringes and graph illustration
liver illustration
passport, pills and vaccine
Scientist looking in microscope
Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection