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, 4 (3), 206-227

Treatment of Hepatitis C in Patients Undergoing Immunosuppressive Drug Therapy


Treatment of Hepatitis C in Patients Undergoing Immunosuppressive Drug Therapy

Kohtaro Ooka et al. J Clin Transl Hepatol.


With 185 million people chronically infected globally, hepatitis C is a leading bloodborne infection. All-oral regimens of direct acting agents have superior efficacy compared to the historical interferon-based regimens and are significantly more tolerable. However, trials of both types of regimens have often excluded patients on immunosuppressive medications for reasons other than organ transplantation. Yet, these patients-most often suffering from malignancy or autoimmune diseases-could stand to benefit from these treatments. In this study, we systematically review the literature on the treatment of hepatitis C in these neglected populations. Research on patients with organ transplants is more robust and this literature is reviewed here non-systematically. Our systematic review produced 2273 unique works, of which 56 met our inclusion criteria and were used in our review. The quality of data was low; only 3 of the 56 studies were randomized controlled trials. Sustained virologic response was reported sporadically. Interferon-containing regimens achieved this end-point at rates comparable to that in immunocompetent individuals. Severe adverse effects and death were rare. Data on all-oral regimens were sparse, but in the most robust study, rates of sustained virologic response were again comparable to immunocompetent individuals (40/41). Efficacy and safety of interferon-containing regimens and all-oral regimens were similar to rates in immunocompetent individuals; however, there were few interventional trials. The large number of case reports and case series makes conclusions vulnerable to publication bias. While firm conclusions are challenging, given the dearth of high-quality studies, our results demonstrate that antiviral therapy can be safe and effective. The advent of all-oral regimens offers patients and clinicians greatly increased chances of cure and fewer side effects. Preliminary data reveal that these regimens may confer such benefits in immunosuppressed individuals as well. More prospective interventional trials would greatly benefit the many patients with chronic hepatitis C on immunosuppressive therapies.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Direct acting antivirals; Hepatitis C/dt [drug therapy]; Immunosuppressive agents; Interferons.

Conflict of interest statement



Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.. PRISMA chart.

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