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Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Jul;98(7):1610-5.

Interferon monotherapy for dialysis patients with chronic hepatitis C: an analysis of the literature on efficacy and safety.

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Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is prevalent in patients with end stage renal disease who are on dialysis. Liver disease from HCV is a cause of substantial morbidity and mortality after kidney transplantation in infected recipients. Effective treatment of chronic HCV is needed in this group of patients. We aimed to determine from the literature the efficacy and safety of interferon monotherapy in dialysis patients with chronic HCV.


We reviewed the literature from 1986 to 2001 on the efficacy of interferon monotherapy in patients with HCV and end stage renal disease who were on dialysis. The outcomes measured were sustained viral response (SVR) and drop-out rate.


We reviewed 17 studies, of which 11 studies with a total of 213 patients met criteria for our analysis. Eight studies evaluated 3 million units (MU) three times/wk (t.i.w.), and three studies evaluated higher doses. The pooled SVR for 3 MU was 33% (95% CI = 21-51%). The pooled SVR for genotype 1 patients was 26% (95% CI = 15-37%). Of 152 patients in eight studies treated with 3 MU t.i.w. of interferon monotherapy, 45 patients (29.6%) discontinued therapy because of side effects.


Our analysis suggests that interferon monotherapy is more effective in patients on dialysis than in patients with normal renal function. Interferon monotherapy is associated with more adverse events in dialysis patients. The optimal dose and duration of interferon monotherapy and selection criteria of dialysis patients need to be studied further in clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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