News from Hepatitis Week of August 17, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 33
Study: Interferon Plus Ribavirin Safe for Hepatitis C Patients With Kidney Disorders

The combination therapy of interferon and ribavirin can be used safely by hepatitis C patients with kidney disorders, according to a study reported in the August issue of Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.

Although interferon and ribavirin are currently standard therapy for hepatitis C sufferers, it is currently not recommended for patients who also have kidney disorders out of fear of side effects.

The researchers studied the effects of this combination therapy on seven hepatitis C patients with diseases that affect kidney function by attacking the glomeruli, the tiny units within the kidney where blood is cleaned.

All seven patients had renal insufficiency at the beginning of the study and two also had vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels.

Six of seven patients were negative when tested for HCV-RNA-PCR, which determines whether the virus is multiplying. Four have maintained both virological and renal remission, while one has maintained virological and partial renal remission. One patient did not tolerate interferon, but is in renal remission with low-dose ribavirin.

"Interferon and ribavirin can with reasonable safety be used in hepatitis C virus-related vasculitis and glomerulonephritis irrespective of renal function," concluded the researchers.

Other sources: Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2003 Aug;18(8):1573-80