The researchers assessed the long-term efficacy and safety of combination therapy with interferon alpha-2b (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) for the treatment of severe chronic hepatitis C in patients co-infected with HIV.
The findings of the study were published in the 9 November 2001 issue of AIDS.
A total of 51 patients were treated for 12 months.
Mean baseline CD4 cell count, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase were 412 x 106/l, 113 IU/l, and 111 IU/l, respectively.
The mean Knodell score was 11.5, with 28 patients (55%) exhibiting histological evidence of active cirrhosis.
| Sustained virological response achieved in 21% of patients.
Some 15 (29%) patients discontinued the treatment prematurely because of adverse events.
An end of treatment response (ETR), as defined by the lack of detectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in plasma at the end of treatment, was achieved in 15 patients (29%).
A sustained virological response (SVR), defined by the lack of detectable HCV RNA in plasma 6 months after completion of combination therapy, was achieved in 11 patients (21%).
The HCV genotype 3a was associated with both ETR and SVR.
HCV viremia at baseline was lower in patients who achieved SVR and ETR than in those who did not (6.7 versus 24 × 106 genome equivalents/ml, and 14.3 versus 22.5, respectively).
Alain Landau, of the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, concluded on behalf of his group, "Our results indicate that combination therapy with IFN and RBV is effective in approximately 20% of co-infected patients with severe liver disease."