Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10622589
J. Hepatol. 1999;31 Suppl 1:205-9
Little is known about treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in “other groups” than the general population, namely patients with hematologic or renal disorders and patients with human immune deficiency (HIV) co-infection. The aim was to better define HCV therapies in these groups. We analyzed the medical literature focusing on treatment of HCV infection in other populations to suggest conclusions about indications based on tolerance and efficacy. As in the general population, the decision to treat should be based mainly on liver pathology, and to a lesser extent on virologic profiles (genotype, quantitative viremia). Hemophilia does not modify therapeutic strategies which combine interferon-alpha and ribavirin. Similar combinations should be discussed in patients with inherited hemoglobin disorders but iron overload (secondary hemochromatosis) associated with multiple transfusions may decrease the potential efficacy of interferon-alpha and chronic anemia may limit the use of ribavirin. In hemodialyzed patients, therapy by interferon-alpha is feasible with 3 MU subcutaneously after each hemodialysis three times weekly for 6-12 months. Virologic results are at least similar to those obtained in the general population with frequent pathological improvement. Combinations are not possible because ribavirin is contraindicated for pharmacokinetic reasons. In kidney recipients, interferon-alpha is deleterious and inefficient; ribavirin monotherapy has a potential interest which remains to be evaluated. In HIV co-infected patients, treatment is mandatory given the high rate of cirrhosis and the improved survival related to multiple anti-HIV therapies (which have no clear efficacy for quantitative HCV viremia). Due to the limited efficacy of interferon-alpha monotherapy, the combination of interferon-alpha and ribavirin appears to be the logical treatment. An important point is the in vitro inhibition of phosphorylation by ribavirin of HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitors which has to be analyzed in vivo before the combination can be recommended. On the basis of the results of liver biopsy, antiviral treatments may be proposed for HCV-infected patients with hematologic or renal disorders as well as for HIV co-infected patients. The choice of therapy (monotherapy or combined therapies) should be based on the clinical situation (contraindicated with chronic anemia or renal failure, for example) and its duration on the virologic factors of response as in the general population.