Daily Versus Thrice-Weekly Interferon Alfa-2b Plus Ribavirin for the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C in HIV-Infected Persons: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

Mark S. Sulkowski, Franco Felizarta, Cheryl Smith, Jidah Slim, Ruth Berggren, Russell Goodman, Lisa Ball, Mandana Khalili, Douglas T. Dieterich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Among HIV-infected persons, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes substantial morbidity and mortality. However, few studies have evaluated the safety and efficacy of interferon alfa (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) therapy in co-infected persons. Accordingly, a randomized, controlled, open-label, multicenter trial was conducted to establish the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of IFN alfa-2b 3 mIU daily plus RBV 800 mg/d compared with IFN alfa-2b 3 mlU thrice weekly (TIW) plus RBV 800 mg/d in HCV treatment-naive, HIV-infected subjects with compensated liver disease and stable HIV disease. The primary endpoint was sustained virologic response (SVR), defined as an undetectable HCV RNA level 24 weeks after discontinuation of HCV therapy. At study entry, subjects in both groups were similar with respect to age, gender, HCV genotype, and HIV disease status. Of 180 randomized subjects, 162 received at least 1 dose of study medication, constituting the modified intention-to-treat population. After 12 weeks of therapy, 122 (75%) had serum HCV RNA levels assessed; of these subjects, early virologic response (undetectable HCV RNA or >2 log10 decrease from baseline) was observed in 33 (42%) and 13 (16%) of subjects taking daily and TIW IFN, respectively (P < 0.001). SVR was observed in 15 (19.0%) and 7 (8.4%) of subjects taking daily and TIW IFN, respectively (P = 0.05). Adverse events were similar in both groups. However, while no deaths or opportunistic infections were observed, nearly 30% of subjects stopped treatment due to adverse events and 7 subjects experienced a serious adverse event. In conclusion, SVR was achieved in 19% of HIV/HCV coinfected subjects treated with daily IFN plus RBV, but the effectiveness of therapy was substantially diminished by relatively high rates of treatment-related toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-472
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 15 2004



  • HCV
  • HIV
  • Interferon
  • Ribaviron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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