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J Viral Hepat. 2011 Aug;18(8):542-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2010.01334.x. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

Treatment of chronic hepatitis C in HIV-infected patients with compensated liver cirrhosis.

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Infectious Diseases Department, Hospital Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.


The greatest benefit of hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy is seen in cirrhotics attaining sustained virological response (SVR). However, concerns about toxicity and poorer responses often discourage treatment of cirrhotics. This may be particularly relevant in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients, in whom progression of liver fibrosis is faster and treatment responses lower. This is a retrospective analysis of HIV-HCV-coinfected patients who had received peginterferon-ribavirin therapy at our institution. Individuals naïve for interferon in whom liver fibrosis had been assessed using elastometry within the year before being treated were chosen. Response rates and toxicities were compared in cirrhotics (>14.5 KPa) and noncirrhotics. Patients with previous liver decompensation were excluded. Overall, 41 cirrhotics and 190 noncirrhotics entered the study. Groups were similar in age, gender, HCV genotypes and baseline serum HCV-RNA. SVR occurred at similar rates in cirrhotic and noncirrhotics, either considered by intention-to-treat (39%vs 45%; P = 0.4) or as treated (50%vs 52%, P = 0.8). In multivariate analysis (odds ratio, 95% CI, P), SVR was associated with HCV genotypes 2-3 (5, 2.9-11, <0.01) and lower serum HCV-RNA (2, 1.4-3.03 for every log decrease, <0.01) but not with cirrhosis (1.2, 0.4-3.6, 0.6). Treatment discontinuations because of adverse events tended to be more common in cirrhotics than in noncirrhotics (17%vs 12%; P = 0.2), but only severe thrombocytopenia was more frequent in cirrhotics than in non-cirrhotics (20%vs 3% at week 24; P < 0.01). Response to peginterferon-ribavirin therapy is similar in HIV-HCV coinfected patients with and without liver cirrhosis. Therefore, treatment must be encouraged in all compensated cirrhotic patients, although closer monitoring and management of side effects, mainly thrombocytopenia, may be warranted.

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