Background. Recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) is often treated with interferon and ribavirin combination therapy but results have been disappointing. Given the promising results reported with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for hepatitis C, this combination is now preferred for the treatment of recurrent HCV. This article reports a transplantation program's experience with antiviral therapy treatment for liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV. Methods. Between October 2002 and June 2004, patients with recurrent HCV were screened to determine if they were eligible for treatment. Liver function tests, HCVRNA, and liver biopsies were done on all patients prior to treatment. HCVRNA was repeated at 3 months, end of treatment (EOT), and 6 months after EOT for patients HCVRNA-negative at EOT. Patients were prospectively followed up after starting weekly pegylated interferon alfa-2a 180 mcg/wk and ribavirin 1000-1200 mg/d (Roche, Nutley, NJ, United States) with folic acid 1 mg/d. Results. Thirty-two patients were eligible for treatment with a median age of 49.2 years. Twenty-one patients have completed treatment, 6 remain on treatment, and 5 were intolerant. In an intention-to-treat analysis, sustained HCVRNA eradication occurred in at least 40.6% of patients. Side effects led to treatment withdrawal in 5 patients (15.6%). Conclusion. Pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin appear promising for the treatment of recurrent HCV. Side effects were an infrequent cause of treatment discontinuation, unlike previous combinations of interferon-based therapy. Randomized, prospective trials incorporating serial liver biopsies with appropriate quality of life analyses are required to manage this silent epidemic.
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2005|
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