New treatment for hepatitis C in chronic kidney disease, dialysis, and transplant

Fabrizio Fabrizi, Paul Martin, Piergiorgio Messa
Kidney International 2016, 89 (5): 988-994
The evidence that chronic hepatitis C plays a detrimental role in survival among patients on maintenance dialysis or renal transplant recipients promotes the antiviral treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among chronic kidney disease patients. Also, it seems that HCV infection is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease in the adult general population. Interferon-based regimens have provided limited efficacy and safety among chronic kidney disease patients, whereas the advent of the new direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C (launched over the past 5 years) has given the opportunity to reach sustained virologic response rates of 90% for many patient groups. Unfortunately, poor information exists regarding the antiviral treatment of hepatitis C in the chronic kidney disease population. The first published data on the treatment of hepatitis C among patients with chronic kidney disease (stage 4-5) and HCV genotype 1 regard the grazoprevir (NS3/4A protease inhibitor) and elbasvir (NS5A inhibitor) combination; excellent efficacy (sustained viral response, 94.3%; 115/122) and safety have been achieved. Preliminary evidence on the combined treatment of sofosbuvir (NS5B inhibitor) and simeprevir (NS3/4A inhibitor) has given a viral response of 89%, but the size of the study group (n = 38 patients with end-stage renal disease) was small. Some phase 2 and 3 clinical trials based on other antiviral combinations (3D regimen, sofosbuvir/ledipasvir, or other sofosbuvir-containing approaches) are ongoing. Thus, the antiviral regimens based on direct-acting antivirals promise to play a pivotal role in the eradication of hepatitis C among kidney disease patients. Direct-acting antivirals are very expensive; in an era of cost containment this is a crucial point either in developed and developing countries. Adverse drug reactions resulting from concomitantly administered medications are another ongoing concern for patients undergoing HCV treatment, particularly for chronic kidney disease patients who have a heavy burden of comorbidities.

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