Rheumatic manifestations of hepatitis C infection
- Cite this article as:
- Vassilopoulos, D. & Calabrese, L.H. Curr Rheumatol Rep (2003) 5: 200. doi:10.1007/s11926-003-0067-8
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Among chronic viral infections, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is uniquely associated with an array of rheumatic manifestations and autoimmune laboratory findings. These include, among others, arthralgias, arthritis, fatigue, fibromyalgia, vasculitis, and sialadenitis (Sjögren-like). The mechanisms that are involved in the pathogenesis of these diverse manifestations have not yet been clarified. Regardless of the direct or indirect pathogenetic role of HCV in these clinical entities, the concomitant presence of a chronic viral infection creates a number of diagnostic and therapeutic problems. This is particularly true when immunosuppressive therapy is needed for control of disease activity (eg, HCV-associated cryoglobulinemic vasculitis). The emerging treatment options for chronic HCV offer a major chance for viral eradication and conceivably for cure of these HCV-associated conditions. In this review, the recent advances in the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical findings, and treatment of HCV-associated rheumatic conditions are presented.