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Am J Hematol. 2006 Sep;81(9):696-702.

Treatment of hepatitis C in hemophiliacs.

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  • 1Servizio di Immunoematologia e Trasfusione, Centro Emofilia, Azienda Ospedaliera di Verona, Verona, Italy.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hemophiliacs who received nonvirucidally treated large-pool clotting factor concentrates before 1986. In fact, although many hemophiliacs infected with HCV have a slow progression of liver disease, in a minority of them hepatitis evolves toward end-stage liver disease and hepatocarcinoma. Moreover, a significant percentage of HCV-infected hemophiliacs were also coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can accelerate the progression of liver disease. Thus, the aim of anti-HCV therapy is to interrupt the chronic infection in order to prevent the progression of hepatitis to cirrhosis, liver decompensation, cancer and, ultimately, death. In this review we present the literature data on anti-HCV treatment in hemophiliacs. Combination therapy with interferon (IFN) and ribavirin has improved the poor results obtained with IFN monotherapy and has become the standard treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Given the positive results obtained with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin in nonhemophiliacs, ongoing trials are evaluating this promising therapy in HCV-chronically infected hemophilic patients; preliminary results show a sustained response rate similar to that in patients without coagulopathy. Finally, based on the encouraging results in coinfected nonhemophiliacs, anti-HCV treatment should also be considered for those HIV-positive hemophiliacs in whom anti-retroviral treatment has stabilized the HIV infection.

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