Lower Ribavirin Plasma Concentrations in HCV/HIV–Coinfected Patients Than in HCV-Monoinfected Patients Despite Similar Dosage

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Abstract

Background:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV–coinfected patients respond worse to dual therapy with ribavirin (RBV)/peginterferon compared with HCV-monoinfected patients. Several trials found that lower RBV plasma concentrations are associated with impaired virological response rates. The aim of this study was to determine RBV plasma concentrations in a cohort of HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV–coinfected patients. Our hypothesis is that HCV/HIV–coinfected patients have lower RBV plasma concentrations, which may in part explain their inferior response to dual therapy.

Methods:

A retrospective cohort study was performed in chronic HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV–coinfected patients who received peginterferon and weight-based RBV. Plasma RBV concentrations were determined at weeks 4 and 12 by a validated high-performance liquid chromatography assay. RBV concentrations were compared between monoinfected and coinfected patients. We calculated the proportion of patients with a subtherapeutic RBV plasma concentration defined as <2.0 mg/L.

Results:

A total of 61 HCV-infected patients were included, of whom 21 (34%) were coinfected with HIV. Although there was no difference in the weight-based dose of RBV between monoinfected and coinfected patients, RBV exposure was significantly lower in HCV/HIV–coinfected patients than in HCV-monoinfected patients: the mean ± SD RBV plasma concentrations were 1.82 ± 0.63 mg/L versus 2.25 ± 0.80 mg/L (P = 0.04) at week 4 and 2.14 ± 0.65 mg/L versus 2.62 ± 0.81 mg/L (P = 0.05) at week 12, respectively. The percentage of patients with subtherapeutic plasma concentrations of RBV in coinfected patients versus monoinfected patients was 62% versus 46% (P = 0.240) at week 4 and 50% versus 16% (P = 0.01) at week 12 of treatment, respectively.

Conclusions:

HIV/HCV–coinfected patients yield significantly lower plasma concentrations of RBV than HCV-monoinfected patients. This puts them at an increased risk of not achieving sustained virological response.

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