Fluvastatin as an adjuvant to pegylated interferon and ribavirin in HIV/hepatitis C virus genotype 1 co-infected patients: an open-label randomized controlled study

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ObjectivesRecent reports demonstrated in vitro the efficacy of fluvastatin in inhibiting hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and a synergistic effect in association with interferon-α (IFN-α). In vivo the inhibition of HCV replication by statins has not been demonstrated. We evaluated in this open-label, randomized controlled study the efficacy of fluvastatin as adjuvant to pegylated-(PEG)-IFN and ribavirin in HIV/HCV genotype 1 co-infected patients.Patients and methodsForty-four HIV/HCV co-infected patients were randomized to receive, in addition to PEG-IFN-α 2b and ribavirin, 80 mg of fluvastatin once daily or no medication. Primary and secondary endpoints were the achievement of sustained virological response (SVR) and rapid virological response (RVR), respectively.ResultsBy intent-to-treat analysis, 25% of the patients achieved an SVR. An SVR was observed in 8/21 patients in the fluvastatin arm and in 3/23 patients in the standard therapy arm (P = 0.08). A significantly higher RVR rate was obtained in the fluvastatin arm compared with the standard therapy [7/21 (33%) and 1/23 (4%), respectively; P = 0.02]. Baseline alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values and fluvastatin treatment arm were the only predictors of RVR at the univariate analysis; however, no predictors were independently associated with RVR or SVR at the multivariate analysis.ConclusionsFluvastatin addition to standard therapy did not significantly increase the SVR rate in HIV/HCV genotype 1 co-infected patients; however, it did significantly improve the RVR. Further studies are needed to confirm these promising results and to investigate the mechanisms of action of statins in HCV infection.

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