Efficacy of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin treatment in HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infected patients receiving abacavir plus lamivudine or tenofovir plus either lamivudine or emtricitabine as nucleoside analogue backbone

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To compare the response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV co-infected patients receiving a nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitor [N(t)RTI] backbone consisting of abacavir plus lamivudine with that observed in subjects who receive tenofovir plus lamivudine or emtricitabine.


A total of 256 subjects, enrolled in a cohort of 948 HIV-infected patients who received pegylated interferon and ribavirin from October 2001 to January 2006, were included in this study. All patients were taking one protease inhibitor or one non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and abacavir plus lamivudine or tenofovir plus lamivudine or emtricitabine as N(t)RTI backbone during HCV therapy. Sustained virological response (SVR) rates in both backbone groups were compared.


In an intention-to-treat analysis, 20 out of 70 (29%) individuals under abacavir and 83 out of 186 (45%) under tenofovir showed SVR (P=0.02). N(t)RTI backbone containing tenofovir was an independent predictor of SVR in the multivariate analysis [adjusted odds ratio (95% CI), 2.6 (1.05–6.9); P=0.03]. The association between abacavir use and lower SVR was chiefly seen in patients with plasma HCV-RNA load higher than 600 000 IU/mL and genotype 1 or 4. Among patients treated with ribavirin dose <13.2 mg/kg/day, 3 (20%) of those under abacavir versus 22 (52%) under tenofovir reached SVR (P=0.03), whereas the rates were 31% and 38% (P=0.4), respectively, in those receiving ≥13.2 mg/kg/day.


HIV-infected patients who receive abacavir plus lamivudine respond worse to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin than those who are given tenofovir plus lamivudine or emtricitabine as N(t)RTI backbone, especially in those receiving lower ribavirin doses.

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