Side-effects of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy with or without protease inhibitor direct acting antiviral agents during treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection

Hunyady, B.él.; Kovács, B.áz.; Battyáni, Z.

Orvosi Hetilap 152(50): 1997-2009


ISSN/ISBN: 0030-6002
PMID: 22112373
Accession: 055769065

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects 2-3% of the population, approximately 170 million people worldwide, causing chronic HCV-related hepatitis with subsequent liver cirrhosis, hepatic failure, hepatocellular cancer, and liver-related mortality in a large number of patients. The gold standard therapy, pegylated interferon alpha in combination with ribavirin can eradicate hepatitis C virus infection in approx. 40% of treatment-naïve patients infected with HCV genotype G1, and only 15-20% of patients with previous treatment. Success rate is substantially improved with the development and registration of two direct acting anti-hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors (boceprevir and telaprevir) in the second decade of 21st century: combined with the standard therapy, almost three quarter of previously untreated, and more than half of previously unsuccessfully treated patients can achieve sustained viral response with protease inhibitor based triple therapies. A major barrier to successful treatment is the association of peginterferon/ribavirin therapy with frequent and sometimes serious adverse effects. In clinical trials, approximately 10-15% of treated patients discontinue peginterferon and ribavirin due to adverse events; however, in routine clinical practice, the rate of treatment discontinuation has been reported to be substantially higher. The side effects of peginterferon/ribavirin therapy affect virtually all organ systems, and addition of protease inhibitor can amplify these side effects (particularly anemia), and/or may lead to new ones (i.e., dysgeusia with boceprevir or skin rush with telaprevir). There is considerable regional and global variability in the nature and prevalence of these adverse effects as well as in the best strategies to ameliorate their impact on hepatitis C virus treatment. This article summarizes the side effects of dual and triple therapies and their management based on the labels of the drugs, on a comprehensive literature review, as well as on the recently published opinion of an international panel of experts - with the provision of providing help for the physicians treating hepatitis C virus infection to achieve the best possible success with the highest possible safety for the patients.