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J Infect. 2006 Jul;53(1):36-42. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in HIV-coinfected patients.

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University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.



HIV-coinfection accelerates the course of HCV-related liver disease. Since, highly active anti-retroviral therapy significantly improved survival of HIV-patients more coinfected patients develop end stage liver disease. Therefore, treatment options for chronic hepatitis C in HIV-coinfected patients need to be evaluated.


Efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon alpha-2b (peg IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) was examined within this prospective, uncontrolled, multicentre trial. Patients received peg IFN (1.5 microg/kg) once weekly plus RBV 800 mg daily for 48 weeks for HCV genotypes (GT) 1/4 and 24 weeks for GT 2/3.


One hundred and twenty-two patients were enrolled. Patients were predominantly male (68%) and former i.v. drug users (61%). Baseline characteristics (median) were as follows: age 39 years (range 23-58), CD4 count 494 cells/microl (range 150-1578/microl), HIV-RNA 2.3log copies/ml (range <1.7-5.4log copies/ml). 61% currently received anti-retroviral treatment. Fifty-six percent had HCV GT 1. EOT response was achieved by 52%. However, only 25% achieved sustained response (SR) due to a high relapse rate. SR rates were significantly higher among patients with GT 2/3 compared to those with GT 1/4 (44 vs. 18%). SR was observed in only one patient without early response (ER). Discontinuation rate was 30%, 21% discontinued due to adverse events.


Peg IFN/RBV appears safe and effective in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients. GT 2/3 is associated with better SR. Lack of ER strongly predicts non-response. High relapse rates substantially reduce treatment success. In terms of toxicity neuro-psychiatric side effects frequently required treatment discontinuation.

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