Introduction. The management issues of transplant patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are complex, and interferon therapy is often ineffective. We present data from a retrospective review in liver-transplant recipients suffering from HCV recurrence that were treated with pegylated alpha-2b interferon and ribavirin. Methods. A retrospective review of transplant recipients that received combination pegylated alpha-2b interferon (1.5 mcg/kg/wk) and ribavirin (400-600 mg/day) therapy intended for at least 48 weeks. Complications were recorded and included neutropenia (<750 cells), anemia (hemoglobin <8 g) with and without treatment consisting of blood transfusions, erythropoietin, or dose reduction of ribavirin, and depression. The diagnosis of HCV recurrence was determined by an increase in liver chemistries, histopathologic findings with inflammation along with viral recurrence using the COBAS AMPLICOR HCV test. Results. Fifty-seven liver-transplant recipients were included, 29 naïve (group 1) to therapy and 28 nonresponders (group 2) to at least 6 months of interferon and ribavirin therapy. Eight (27.6%) patients in group 1 and six (21%) patients in group 2 were HCV nondetectable at the end of 48 weeks of therapy. Ribavirin therapy was decreased in 13 of 29 (45%) for group 1 and 11 of 28 (39%) in group 2. Therapeutic interventions were 4 of 57 (7%) blood transfusions, 23 of 57 (40%) erythropoietin, and 17 of 57 (30%) filgrastim. Conclusion. Combination pegylated interferon with ribavirin appears to effective therapy in HCV recurrence and in HCV nonresponsive to interferon and ribavirin. This data reveals the difficulty and caution that must be taken when treating HCV-R liver-transplant recipients with combination pegylated alpha-2b interferon and ribavirin therapy.
- Fulminant hepatic failure
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Orthotopic liver transplantation
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