Coinfection

Ribavirin Helps Early Hepatitis C Treatment in People with HIV

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Adding ribavirin to pegylated interferon increases the likelihood of a cure for early hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in people with HIV, according to study findings published in the May 2, 2012, advance online edition of AIDS.

If detected and treated during the acute or early stages of HCV infection, overall sustained response rates are very high with pegylated interferon alone. But HIV positive people typically do not respond as well to interferon and may need more intensive treatment for acute hepatitis C. Ribavirin is known to reduce the risk of post-treatment relapse and therefore raise the odds of a cure.

Jason Grebely from the University of New South Wales and colleagues with the Australian Trial in Acute HCV (ATAHC) Study Group evaluated early viral decline and sustained response to treatment of recent HCV infection in HIV negative people receiving pegylated interferon monotherapy and HIV positive people receiving pegylated interferon plus ribavirin for 24 weeks.

Results

Based on these findings, the study authors concluded, "The results of this study suggest a potential benefit for pegylated interferon and ribavirin combination therapy in maximizing virological responses in [HIV/HCV coinfected] participants with recent HCV, particularly those with a longer duration of HCV infection and unfavorable IL28B genotypes."

5/8/12

Reference

J Grebely, M Hellard, T Applegate, et al (ATAHC Study Group). Virological responses during treatment for recent hepatitis C virus: Potential benefit for ribavirin use in HCV/HIV co-infection. AIDS. May 2, 2012 (Epub ahead of print).