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J Hepatol. 2012 Feb;56(2):334-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2011.05.021. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

A multi-disciplinary approach to treating hepatitis C with interferon and ribavirin in alcohol-dependent patients with ongoing abuse.

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CHU de Rennes, Unité d'Addictologie, F-35033 Rennes, France.



Guidelines recommend 6 months of alcohol abstinence before treating hepatitis C (HCV). Abstinence is difficult for alcohol-dependent patients to achieve. This study evaluated HCV treatment in alcoholic patients with ongoing consumption or less than 6 months of abstinence.


A multidisciplinary management model was built by a liver unit and two centers involved in the care of addict patients. Patients were included in a prospective observational study of treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin if they presented alcohol dependence with ongoing intoxication or abstinence of less than 6 months. Pre-therapeutic evaluation and follow-up were multidisciplinary, and addiction care was personalized to patient condition and willingness. Alcohol abstinence or reduction was encouraged but not mandatory. The primary end point was sustained virological response (SVR). Results were compared to a control group of patients matched for genotype, viral load, fibrosis stage, sex, and age.


A total of 73 patients treated between 2002 and 2008 were included in the study. Intent to treat analysis showed an SVR in 48% (35/73) of patients versus 49% (36/73) of controls. Low viral load and length of abstinence during treatment were independently associated with SVR. During treatment, 20 (27%) patients were abstinent, 23 (32%) had controlled consumption, and 24 (33%) had excessive consumption. At the end of the follow-up, 22 (30%) patients were durably abstinent.


A multidisciplinary approach allowed HCV treatment in alcohol-dependent patients with a satisfactory SVR rate and positive effects on addiction behavior.

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