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Pediatr Int. 2012 Aug;54(4):528-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2012.03603.x. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Prophylaxis for ribavirin-related anemia using eicosapentaenoic acid in chronic hepatitis C patients.

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Department of Pediatrics, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



Ribavirin-related anemia is a serious side-effect of the pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy used for hepatitis C, and may be cause for a reduction in ribavirin dose or even cessation of treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prophylactic effects of oral eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) supplementation on ribavirin-induced hemolytic anemia in pediatric and young adult patients.


Twelve chronic hepatitis C patients ranging in age from 3 to 21 years (mean, 13.9 ± 5.1 years) who received pegylated interferon α-2b and ribavirin combination therapy were randomized to either the control group (n = 6) or EPA group (n = 6). Blood samples were collected before, and at 4, 8, and 16 weeks after treatment to measure clinical laboratory parameters.


The reduction in hemoglobin levels of the EPA group was significantly ameliorated at 8 and 16 weeks when compared to the control group (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in plasma ribavirin concentrations between the two groups during the treatment. However, one patient in the control group had a reduction in ribavirin dose.


EPA supplementation prevented ribavirin-induced hemolytic anemia during combination therapy with pegylated interferon α-2b and ribavirin in pediatric and young adult patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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