The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of pegylated interferon and ribavirin in HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected patients, prescribed for the same duration and at the same dosage as that used in HCV monoinfection studies.Design
It was an open-label, single-centre, prospective study.Methods
Forty-five patients coinfected with HIV and HCV with CD4 counts >200 cells/μL were treated with pegylated interferon- α2b 1.5μg/kg/week and ribavirin 1000–1200 mg/day for 24–48 weeks depending on HCV genotype. Safety and tolerability were assessed weekly for the first month and monthly thereafter. Virological response was assessed at weeks 4, 12 and 24 and at the end of treatment and 12 and 24 weeks post completion of treatment. The primary endpoint was defined as undetectable HCV RNA at 24 weeks post completion of treatment [sustained virological response (SVR)].Results
The majority of patients were male and had been injecting drug users. Sixty per cent were on antiretroviral therapy. In an intention-to-treat analysis, 53% had an SVR (genotype 1, 19% and genotype 2/3, 75%). All patients who had undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 of HCV treatment [very early virological response (VEVR)] had a SVR. On multivariate analysis only HCV genotype predicted SVR. Adverse events occurred frequently.Conclusions
These results indicate that 24 weeks of HCV treatment may be adequate for HIV-infected individuals coinfected with HCV genotype 2 or 3. VEVR can predict SVR in this group and may be used to guide the subgroup of genotype 2/3 individuals who will respond to 24 weeks of treatment.