Journal Article

Liver Injury and Changes in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA Load Associated with Protease Inhibitor–Based Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment-Naive HCV-HIV–Coinfected Patients: Lopinavir-Ritonavir versus Nelfinavir

Kenneth E. Sherman, Norah J. Shire, Paul Cernohous, Susan D. Rouster, Janice H. Omachi, Scott Brun and Barbara Da Silva

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 41, issue 8, pages 1186-1195
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/444501
Liver Injury and Changes in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA Load Associated with Protease Inhibitor–Based Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment-Naive HCV-HIV–Coinfected Patients: Lopinavir-Ritonavir versus Nelfinavir

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Background. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation in patients coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been associated with transaminase and HCV viral load flares. Previous studies have included highly variable antiretroviral regimens. We compared effects of 2 protease inhibitor–based regimens on alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and HCV loads in HCV-HIV–coinfected patients initiating HAART.

Methods. Seventy HIV-infected patients with positive baseline results of HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay from a treatment trial comparing lopinavir-ritonavir with nelfinavir were evaluated during a 48-week period. HCV and HIV titers were analyzed at baseline, at weeks 24 and 48 of treatment, and during flares in the ALT level of >5 times the upper limit of normal.

Results. A total of 57 of 70 patients tested positive for HCV RNA at baseline. HCV titers for patients in lopinavir-ritonavir and nelfinavir groups, respectively, were as follows: baseline, 6.07 and 6.22 log IU/mL; week 24 of treatment, 6.68 and 6.48 log IU/mL; and week 48 of treatment, 6.32 and 6.44 log IU/mL. Of patients with a CD4+ cell count of <100 cells/mm3 at baseline, 5 of 11 in the nelfinavir group and 0 of 10 in the lopinavir-ritonavir group had an increase in the HCV load of >0.5 log IU/mL from baseline to week 48. The mean ALT level increased by 45 U/L at 24 weeks and 18 U/L at 48 weeks in the nelfinavir group but decreased by 18 U/L at 24 weeks and 7 U/L at 48 weeks in the lopinavir-ritonavir group. Eight patients in the nelfinavir group and 2 patients in the lopinavir-ritonavir group had grade 3 or 4 flares in the ALT level.

Conclusions. HAART initiation is associated with increased HCV loads and ALT levels. A low baseline CD4+ cell count is associated with persistent increases in the HCV RNA load in nelfinavir-treated patients. These results warrant careful interpretation of abnormalities in the ALT load after HAART initiation in HCV-HIV–coinfected patients to prevent premature discontinuation of treatment.

Journal Article.  4596 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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