Treatment of hepatitis C and anemia in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients

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Because of shared modes of transmission, co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common. Co-infection with HIV increases HCV virus load, liver-related mortality, and the risk of sexual and perinatal transmission of HCV, and it may accelerate HCV disease progression. With combination interferon (IFN)-α2b/ribavirin or pegylated IFN-α2b/ribavirin therapy, long-term remission is possible for HCV-infected patients. Preliminary evidence suggests that the combination of IFN-α2b/ribavirin can achieve similar response rates in HCV/HIV-co-infected individuals with no adverse effect on HIV RNA concentrations. Although adverse effects are more frequent with combination therapy than with IFN-α monotherapy, most are manageable. In addition, few instances of drug-drug antagonism have been reported among drugs used to treat each disease, although further study is necessary. Ribavirin-associated hemolytic anemia is a potential problem in a patient population that is already susceptible to anemia but is manageable with recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S128-S137
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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