Miguel Ángel Jiménez-Luévano, José Manuel Lerma-Díaz, Georgina Hernández-Flores, Miguel Ángel Jiménez-Partida, Alejandro Bravo-Cuellar
Background and aim. The commonly accepted treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, pegylated interferon alpha (PEG INF-alpha) and ribavirin, leads to 50-60% of sustained virological response (SVR). On the other hand, pentoxifylline (PTX) possesses antiviral and hepatoprotector properties. Aim. To investigate whether the addition of PTX to conventional hepatitis C treatment increases SVR. Material and methods. Seventy two patients of both genders were studied in a randomized fashion; the diagnosis of chronic HCV infection was made according to clinical and laboratory criteria and histopathologically classified according to METAVIR scoring system criteria. HCV viral load was tested by PCR, baseline, and after 6 months of treatment, as well as anti-HCV, anti-hepatitis B virus , and anti-human immunodeficiency virus antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. During 48 weeks, control group patients were treated with PEG INFalpha-2a plus ribavirin. PTX was administered to Experimental Group patients prior to the treatment. Results. Demographic data were similar in both groups. Experimental- and control-group subjects were at F2 and F3 states according to the METAVIR classification. The most common HCV genotypes were 1a and 1b (39% in the control group in each case, and 42% in the experimental group in each case). At the end of the study, hepatic enzymes and viral load decreased in both groups to similar values. SVR in the experimental group increased significantly (p < 0.05) when compared with standard therapy alone. Conclusion. Addition of PTX to conventional chronic hepatitis C treatment may increase the percentage of patients with SVR.
Key words. Chronic hepatitis C virus, Pentoxifylline, Pegylated interferon-alpha-2a, Ribavirin, Sustained virological response