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Gastroenterology. 2003 Mar;124(3):642-50.

Interferon-alpha 2b plus ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C after liver transplantation: a randomized study.

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  • 1Centre HépatoBiliaire, Hôpital Paul Brousse Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Faculté de Médecine Paris Sud, EA 3541, EPI 99-41 et Association Claude Bernard, Villejuif, France. didier.samuel@pbr.ap-hop-paris.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) reinfection after liver transplantation is frequent and leads to chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. The use of antiviral therapy in this situation remains controversial. This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin for recurrent hepatitis C following liver transplantation.

METHODS:

Transplant recipients with recurrent chronic hepatitis C were randomized to receive either no treatment or therapy with interferon alfa-2b (3 MU 3 times a week) plus 1000-1200 mg/day ribavirin for 1 year. Patients were followed up for 6 months after the end of treatment. The primary end point was loss of HCV RNA 6 months after the end of treatment.

RESULTS:

Fifty-two patients were randomized (treatment, 28; placebo, 24). Sixteen patients were withdrawn from the study; 12 (43%) were from the treated group (mainly for anemia [7 patients]) and 4 (17%) from the control group. In the treated group, serum HCV RNA was undetectable in 9 patients (32%) at the end of treatment and 6 (21.4%) at the end of the follow-up period, whereas no patient in the control group lost HCV RNA at any point (P = 0.036 at the end of follow-up). However, there was no significant histologic improvement.

CONCLUSIONS:

The combination of interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin induced a sustained virologic response in 21% of transplant recipients with recurrent hepatitis C. However, 43% discontinued therapy due to adverse events (primarily severe anemia). Strategies to enable treatment with lower doses of ribavirin need to be explored.

PMID:
12612903
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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