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High-Dose Interferon Effective in Patients Coinfected With Hepatitis C

March 12, 2003

A researcher in Japan has found that interferon (IFN) treatment may be effective for both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Hideji Hanabusa, working at Ogikubo Hospital in Tokyo, assessed the efficacy of high-dose IFN therapy in coinfected hemophiliacs. He reported that IFN-treated patients showed significant reductions in levels of both viral pathogens.

Thirty patients -- 15 coinfected with HIV and HCV, and 15 age-matched patients with HCV alone -- took high-dose IFN-alpha-2a therapy for 24 weeks. The report states that HIV viral loads dropped from roughly 7,410 copies/mL to 320 copies/mL after two weeks. Data showed that HCV RNA was undetectable in four of 12 evaluable HIV-positive patients, and in six of 15 HCV-alone patients after 24 weeks. Three HIV-positive patients had to discontinue treatment because of IFN-related toxicity.

"Induction therapy and the dose of IFN should be evaluated in combination therapy with IFN and ribavirin," Hanabusa concluded. The full report, "Efficacy of Induction Therapy with High-Dose Interferon for Patients with Hemophilia and Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Hepatitis C Coinfection," was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases (2002;35(12):1527-1533).

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Excerpted from:
Drug Week
01.24.03; Michael Greer

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