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Hepat Mon. 2015 Jan 13;15(1):e23564. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.23564. eCollection 2015 Jan.

Efficacy of Prolonged Treatment With Pegylated Interferon (Peg-IFN) and Ribavirin in Thalassemic Patients With Hepatitis C Who Relapsed After Previous Peg-IFN-Based Therapy.

Author information

1
Baqiyatallah Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
2
Baqiyatallah Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran ; Middle East Liver Diseases (MELD) Center, Tehran, IR Iran.
3
Middle East Liver Diseases (MELD) Center, Tehran, IR Iran.
4
Middle East Liver Diseases (MELD) Center, Tehran, IR Iran ; Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in Transfusion Medicine, Tehran, IR Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Most thalassemic patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection do not respond to therapy with pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) due to hepatic siderosis and RBV dose reduction caused by RBV-induced anemia.

OBJECTIVES:

In the present study, we recruited HCV genotype 1-infected thalassemic patients who had relapsed after a 48-week treatment with Peg-IFN plus RBV in order to evaluate the efficacy of a 72-week regimen of Peg-IFN plus RBV.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

In this retrospective study, 23 thalassemic patients with HCV genotype 1 infection who had prior relapse after treatment with Peg-IFN and RBV for 48 weeks were consecutively enrolled in this study for evaluation of the efficacy of a 72-week treatment regimen.

RESULTS:

For the 21 included cases, mean age was 29.7 years; 81% were men and 28.6% had cirrhosis. At the end of the treatment, nine (42.9%) patients had an undetectable level of HCV RNA in their sera. However, six months after treatment completion four of these patients relapsed and a sustained virological response (SVR) was found in five (23.8%) patients. Undetectable HCV RNA level at week 4 (P = 0.03) and undetectable HCV RNA level at week 12 (P < 0.01) were found to be predictors of SVR. There was an average 47.9% increase in blood transfusion during therapy and treatment was discontinued for 12 (57.1%) patients prematurely.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present study suggests that thalassemic patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection who did not achieve SVR after a course of therapy with Peg-IFN and RBV may benefit from being retreated with a 72-week regimen.

KEYWORDS:

Hepatitis C; Ribavirin; Thalassemia; peginterferon alfa-2a

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