The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of interferon treatment in aged patients with chronic hepatitis C. One hundred and fifty-four patients with chronic hepatitis C, consecutively treated with a-interferon (a-IFN), were retrospectively subdivided into two groups according to age =60 or <60 years. The two groups were compared in terms of biochemical and histological activity of the disease, HCV genotype, total dose of IFN received, incidence of side effects and rate of response to treatment. Statistical analysis was performed by Student's t test, chi-square test and Fisher's exact test. Aged patients had a higher prevalence of HCV genotype 1b and cirrhosis and received a lower dose of the drug. No differences were found in other epidemiological-clinical characteristics before treatment. The rate of sustained response and long-term response to therapy was similar in the two groups of patients (18% and 8% in the aged and 20% and 13% in the younger respectively). There was a trend of more frequent major side effects in aged patients (p=0.07). Treatment of chronic hepatitis C with a-IFN had the same efficacy in the two groups observed. In aged patients with chronic hepatitis C treatment with the more effective pegylated IFN should be taken into consideration, especially when association with ribavirin is at high risk of adverse events.