We performed a pilot study to evaluate the factors associated with response to interferon (IFN) therapy for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfected haemophiliacs. Seven haemophiliacs, coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), received 9 mega-units (MU) of natural IFN-alpha daily during the first 2 weeks and then three times a week for 22 weeks, all injected subcutaneously. Six patients were receiving zidovudine (AZT) 600 mg day-1 and didanosine (ddI) 200 mg day-1 during IFN therapy. This treatment was safe and well tolerated. Four patients had no detectable serum HCV-RNA at the end of therapy, but long-term, none of the seven patients achieved a sustained response, i.e. undetectable serum HCV-RNA with persistently normal serum alanine amino-transferase (ALT) 6 months after therapy. IFN did not affect CD4-positive cell counts. Most of our patients had high HCV-RNA loads and/or low CD4 counts, both unfavourable markers for IFN therapy. In conclusion, IFN therapy did not eradicate HCV from haemophiliacs coinfected with HIV.
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