VALENCIA, Spain, July 10 -- With a combination of pegylated interferon and Rebetol (ribavirin), liver transplant recipients with recurrent hepatitis C (HCV) infection respond as well as non-transplants patients, according to researchers here.
One third of patients treated with either standard Intron A (interferon alfa-2b) plus Rebetol, or Rebetol plus a pegylated interferon -- either Pegasys (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) or Pegintron (pegylated interferon alfa-2b) -- had a sustained virologic response, reported Marina Berenguer, M.D., and colleagues of the Hospital Universitari La Fe in Valencia. However 40% of these patients had to halt either the interferon, Rebetol, or both, within 48 weeks because of adverse reactions.
"Our results indicate that response of hepatitis C liver transplant patients to pegylated interferon-ribavirin can closely mirror the response obtained in the non-transplant population," the investigators wrote in the July issue of Liver Transplantation.. "The tolerance though is unsatisfactory, and rejection remains a matter of concern in these patients."
In an accompanying editorial, James R. Burton, Jr., M.D., and Hugo R. Rosen, M.D., of the University of Colorado in Denver said that the study provides important information for the management of patients with recurrent HCV infection following liver transplantation.