Implications of Anemia in Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Cancer, and Hepatitis C Virus

Mildvan, Donna
November 2003
Clinical Infectious Diseases;11/15/2003 Supplement, Vol. 37, pS293
Academic Journal
Anemia is a multifactorial problem in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, cancer, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. New insights regarding anemia symptoms and quality of life (QOL) have prompted reassessment of traditional triggers for anemia treatment to increase hemoglobin (Hb) and improve QOL. In HIV-positive patients, anemia is independently associated with disease progression and survival. Many HIV-positive patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) still develop mild to moderate anemia and associated QOL impairment. Epoetin alfa effectively increases Hb and improves QOL in these patients. Many HIV-positive patients are coinfected with HCV. Standard HCV therapy (interferon alfa/ribavirin) can cause anemia that may result in treatment alterations and compromised virologic outcome. Epoetin alfa therapy in anemic HCV patients increases Hb levels and may provide other benefits. Neuroprotective effects of epoetin alfa in preclinical models of central nervous system disorders have recently been demonstrated, implying a new therapeutic role for this cytokine.


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