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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 May;2(3):563-75. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

The kidney transplant recipient with hepatitis C infection: pre- and posttransplantation treatment.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Liver disease secondary to chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients and kidney transplant recipients. Evaluation of patients with chronic HCV infection is warranted to determine stage of disease and the need for HCV therapy. Although combination therapy with interferon (IFN) plus ribavirin is the standard of care for chronic HCV infection, IFN monotherapy is recommended in dialysis patients because ribavirin is contraindicated in the presence of renal failure. The goals of pretransplantation HCV therapy are to decrease the risk for progression of HCV-associated liver disease, stabilize renal function in patients with HCV-related glomerulopathy, and prevent development of HCV-associated renal disease after transplantation. Posttransplantation HCV therapy is generally not recommended because of concerns regarding risk for precipitating acute rejection; however, antiviral therapy may be indicated to treat HCV-related glomerulopathy or prevent progression of chronic hepatitis C in patients with more advanced stages of fibrosis. When treatment is required, restored renal function allows use of combination therapy with IFN and ribavirin. Limitations of current HCV therapy include lack of tolerability and suboptimal response rates. New antiviral agents that can be used in dialysis patients (e.g., ribavirin alternatives) and in the posttransplantation setting (e.g., IFN alternatives) are needed to improve outcomes in these populations.

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