Background. Treatment of recurrent hepatitis C (HCV) following liver transplant currently includes Î±-interferon with ribavirin. Objective. The aim of this study is to evaluate nonresponder protocols for patients failing current treatment for recurrent hepatitis C following liver transplantation. Methods. From February 1998 through November 2002, 67 patients, all serum RNA-positive for hepatitis C with histological evidence of recurrent hepatitis C, underwent treatment with Î±-interferon and ribavirin. For patients who failed initial treatment, patients were begun on either amantadine along with interferon/ribavirin or peginterferon with ribavirin. Results. Of the initial 67 patients, there was a complete viral clearance in only 14.9% (10/67). Of the 57 remaining patients not clearing the virus, 30 (52.6%) were taken off treatment due to adverse events associated with bone marrow or hemoglobin suppression. In the amantadine group (n = 12), three (25%) had to discontinue due to CNS side effects of slurred speech, dizziness, and increased depression. In the amantadine group, no patients cleared the virus but there was a one log drop in viral load (1.6 Ã— 10 6 vs 0.9 Ã— 10 6; P = .4). In the peginterferon group, there were three (20%) patients with complete viral clearance during treatment with similar drops to amantadine. There was also seen a biochemical response by month 3 with peginterferon, which was not seen with amantadine. Conclusions. Peginterferon with ribavirin appears to be superior to amantadine with interferon/ribavirin when used in nonresponders for hepatitis C viral clearance.
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