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Med Clin (Barc). 1996 Apr 6;106(13):486-90.

[The treatment of chronic hepatitis C with interferon in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. The Spanish Group for the Study of Viral Hepatitis in HIV+ Patients].

[Article in Spanish]

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Centro de Investigaciones Clínicas, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid.



Alfa-interferon (aIFN) is widely recommended for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is very common in injecting drug users (IDUs), which in Spain represent the large number of HIV-infected persons. Interaction between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and HCV in coinfected patients might accelerate the clinical course of HCV-associated liver disease. The efficacy and safety of aIFN therapy in HIV-infected patients with CHC is not well known.


In a multicenter, prospective, open, non randomized and partially controlled study, we compared the efficacy and safety of aIFN therapy in 119 patients with CHC, of whom 90 were HIV-positive and 29 HIV-negative. Interferon was started at 5 mega U tiw for 3 months, followed in responders by 3 megaU tiw for additional 9 months.


One hundred seven patients completed the study. A normalization of the aminotransferase values at the end of treatment (complete response, CR) was observed in 26/80 (32.5%) HIV-positive and 10/27 (37.0%) HIV-negative individuals (p = 0.666). Relapses at 12 months of stopping aIFN were seen in 30.8% of HIV-positive subjects and 12.5% of HIV-negatives (p = 0.403). Side effects were uncommon and did not have severity; only one patient required to stop the medication. However, 3 HIV-positive subjects treated with aIFN (3.5% of them) showed an irreversible fall of CD4+ T-cells below half the baseline values.


HIV-infected patients with CHC seems to respond to aIFN with a similar rate than HIV-negatives. Moreover, the drug is similarly well tolerated in both groups of patients, although a fall of CD4+ T-cells is an unusual side effect of particular relevance observed in HIV-infected patients.

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