The therapeutic effect of pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) alfa-2a combined with ribavirin (RBV) on chronic hepatitis C Egyptian patients is low and further efforts are required to optimize this therapy for achievement of higher rates of virological response. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in combination with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin on early virological response (EVR) in chronic hepatitis C Egyptian patients. Naïve 120 Egyptian patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection were divided into two groups. Group 1 have administered the standard of care therapy (pegylated interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin) for 12 weeks, (n = 60). Group 2 have administered hydroxychloroquine plus standard of care therapy for 12 weeks, (n = 60). Therapeutics included hydroxychloroquine (200 mg) oral twice daily, peginterferon alfa-2a (160 μg) subcutaneous once weekly and oral weight-based ribavirin (1000-1200 mg/day). Baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. The percentage of early virological response was significantly more in patients given the triple therapy than in patients given the standard of care [54/60 (90%) vs. 43/60 (71.7%); P = 0.011; respectively]. Biochemical response at week 12 was also significantly higher in patients given the triple therapy compared with the standard of care [58/60 (96.7%) vs. 42/60 (70%); P < 0.001; respectively]. Along the study, the observed adverse events were mild and similar across treatment groups. Addition of hydroxychloroquine to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin improves the rate of early virological and biochemical responses in chronic hepatitis C Egyptian patients without an increase in adverse events. J. Med. Virol. 88:2170-2178, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keywords: biochemical response; early virological response; hepatitis C Egyptian patients; hydroxychloroquine; pegylated interferon; ribavirin.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.