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Infection. 2008 Jun;36(3):250-5. doi: 10.1007/s15010-007-7132-6. Epub 2008 May 3.

Incidence of neutropenia and infections during combination treatment of chronic hepatitis C with pegylated interferon alfa-2a or alfa-2b plus ribavirin.

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  • 1Dept. of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Combination therapy with pegylated interferon (peginterferon) plus ribavirin is associated with several side effects, including neutropenia and infection.

AIMS:

To evaluate the incidence of neutropenia and infection between all consecutive patients with hepatitis C who were treated in two centers with peginterferon-alfa-2a and peginterferon-alfa-2b, in combination with ribavirin and actively monitored for occurrence of any infection.

METHODS:

A total of 319 consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis C received once-weekly peginterferon alfa-2b at a weight-adjusted dose (n=162) or peginterferon alfa-2a at a flat dose (n=157), plus ribavirin.

RESULTS:

Neutropenia was observed in 53 patients overall (17%). There were 73 infections in 73 subjects (23% of the treated population); 4/73 required hospitalization. Infections included respiratory infections (n=23), cellulitis (n=17), dental abscesses (n=13), gastroenteric infections (n=2), and other types of infections (n=18). The incidence of all infections was significantly associated with age, especially over 60 years (p<0.01) but not with neutropenia or type of pegylated interferon.

CONCLUSIONS:

During the treatment with pegylated interferons and ribavirin, we did not find a correlation between neutropenia and infections. This result provides a support for the notion that current guidelines for pegylated interferons dose reduction in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C for hematologic toxicity could be overly strict.

PMID:
18458815
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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