Introduction: Recurrent hepatitis C infection in the posttransplant setting is a serious problem. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy, safety, indications, optimal time of administration and adequate duration of antiviral therapy with pegylated interferon alpha 2 b (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RIB).
Patients and methods: Between 2003 and 2009, 16 patients received antiviral therapy (PEG-IFN: 0.8-1.6 μg/kg/wk, RIB 800-1200 mg/d) for at least 6 months. Patients with a biochemical without a virologicalresponse after 12 months of therapy received antiviral treatment for a further 6 months. Hepatitis C virus load was determined at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after start of therapy. Liver biopsy was performed in all patients before the beginning and after the end of treatment.
Results: The mean period of antiviral therapy was 14 months. The four patients who received the full-length treatment (12 months, 33%) showed sustained virological responses (SVR) and 8 showed virological and biochemical responses (VR, BR). Patients with SVR showed significant improvement in the grading and staging of HAI (histological activity index; P=.03). Nine patients had several side effects under antiviral treatment. Acute rejection episodes were not observed.
Conclusion: The antiviral treatment combination using PEG-IFN and RIB for recurrent hepatitis C is effective procedure. The SVR of 33% after 12 months of treatment with significant improvement in HAI grading and staging and stable HAI in all treated patients favor early initiation and 12-month administration of antiviral treatment. Furthermore, all patients with BR without VR, who underwent antiviral treatment for a further 6 months, achieved a VR. However, the optimal duration of treatment needs to be investigated in large prospective studies.
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