Therapeutical Aspects and Outcome of HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients Treated with Pegylated Interferon plus Ribavirin in an Italian Cohort
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One-third of HIV-infected individuals suffer from chronic hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) in Europe. Recommendations from HCV–HIV International Panel advise current treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. We assessed the impact of interferon and ribavirin combination in 43 patients between 2002 and 2006.
Patients and Methods:
All coinfected patients treated for HCV during the 5-year period were included in retrospective data collection. CD4+ T-lymphocyte count, HAART discontinuation, reasons for treatment interruption and factors correlated to sustained virological response (SVR) were monitored.
The mean age was 41 ± 6.7 years; the risk factor for coinfection was intravenous drug abuse in 32/43 (74%). The baseline CD4+ T-lymphocytes cell count was > 500 in 51% (22/43). Genotype 3a represented 51% (22/43); 37% were on HAART at baseline (16/43) and half of patients showed high HCV RNA levels (> 800,000 IU/ml). High rates of treatment discontinuation were observed (27/43, 63%), caused by voluntary interruptions in 52% (14/27) and virological failure in 26% (7/27). The overall population had an SVR of 30%; genotypes 3a and 1 had SVR of 38% and 24%, respectively. The SVR was significantly lower in three groups: high HCV RNA viral load (χ2 = 6, p < 0.0025), CD4+ T-lymphocyte historical nadir <350 cells/mm3 (χ2 = 3.26, p < 0.01) and genotype 1 with high viral load (χ2 = 4.8, p < 0.005).
Although factors such as HCV viral load rates and genotype 1 have been confirmed to threaten the response to therapy, we observed a significant response rate when patients had a history of CD4+ T-lymphocyte nadir >350 per mm3. The high dropout rates due to voluntary discontinuations complicated the patients’ case management.
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