Antiviral Therapy in HCV-infected Decompensated Cirrhotics

Danish, Fazal A.; Koul, Salman S.; Subhani, Fazal R.; Rabbani, Ahmed E.; Yasmin, Saeeda
October 2010
Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology;Oct2010, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p310
Academic Journal
Decompensated cirrhosis has traditionally been considered a contraindication to interferon and ribavirin therapy. Whereas, the same may be true for advanced cirrhosis, which is only successfully amenable to liver transplantation (LT), there are reports in the literature in which antiviral therapy was given successfully in selected cases of early hepatic decompensation with an aim to attain sustained viral clearance, halt disease progression, and expect potential (though, often, partial) recovery of hepatic metabolic activity. Antiviral therapy may also be instituted to prevent hepatitis C recurrence after LT (it has even caused removal of some patients from the waiting list for LT). Thus, decompensation per se is no more an absolute contraindication to antiviral therapy. Nonetheless, considering that a large proportion of such patients have pre-existing hematological cytopenias, modifications in antiviral dose regimens and close monitoring is required in order to prevent worsening of the same. Although the final sustained virological response rates attained in these patients are relatively low, successful antiviral therapy is potentially lifesaving which explains the need to go for it. In this article, the pros and cons of antiviral therapy in decompensated liver cirrhosis are reviewed with special emphasis on how to avoid antiviral dose reductions/withdrawals secondary to the development of hematologic side effects by using hematopoietic growth factors.


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