Background/aims: Insulin resistance reduces the response to interferon alfa-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C patients. It has been speculated that improvement of insulin sensitivity might increase the chances of responding to treatment of such individuals.
Methods: We started a multicenter clinical trial of retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients, who had failed to respond to the pegylated interferon alfa/ribavirin combination, with a triple therapy consisting in these same antivirals plus an insulin-sensitizer (pioglitazone) (The INSPIRED-HCV study).
Results: None of the first five patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria and included in the trial achieved a satisfactory virological response after 12 weeks of retreatment, despite the fact that in at least three of them the insulin resistance score improved. As a result, the study was terminated.
Conclusions: Different schedules are warranted to improve insulin sensitivity prior to attempting retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients with insulin resistance.