Triple antiviral therapy with telaprevir after liver transplantation: a case series

Johanna Knapstein,1 Daniel Grimm,1 Marcus A Wörns,1 Peter R Galle,1 Hauke Lang,2 Tim Zimmermann111st Department of Internal Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany; 2Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, GermanyIntroduction: Hepatitis C virus reinfection occurs universally after liver transplantation, with accelerated cirrhosis rates of up to 30% within 5 years after liver transplantation. Dual antiviral therapy with pegylated interferon-2a and ribavirin only reaches sustained virological response rates of ~30% after liver transplantation. With the approval of viral NS3/4A protease inhibitors telaprevir, boceprevir, and simeprevir and the NS5B polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir, combination therapy offers new therapeutic options for HCV-infected patients, resulting in considerably higher sustained virological response rates in the nontransplant setting. Case presentation: We report three cases of TVR-based triple antiviral therapy in HCV genotype 1 reinfected patients after liver transplantation, of whom a 57-year-old Caucasian female and a 43-year-old Caucasian male were therapy naïve, and a 49-year-old Caucasian male patient was pretreated ineffectively. After 4 weeks of therapy, viral load decreased one to three log10 and became negative in weeks 6 to 8 in the therapy naïve patients. The pretreated patient showed a negative viral load in week 4. TVR was administered over 12 weeks, 750 mg thrice daily. Doses of immunosuppression with cyclosporine were reduced four to six fold. Initial peg-IFN and RBV doses ranged from 135–180 µg/week and 800–1,200 mg/day, according to the patient's body weight. Doses of peg-IFN and RBV were adapted to 90–135 µg/week and 400–800 mg/day after 2 to 12 weeks of protease inhibitor therapy. Dual therapy was continued for 36 weeks with total treatment duration of 48 weeks in the therapy naïve patients leading to a sustained virological response 12 weeks after the end of therapy. In the pretreated patient a breakthrough was detected in week 24 and therapy was discontinued. Overall, antiviral therapy was well tolerated. Side effects included dysgeusia and anemia leading to erythropoietin application and blood transfusions. Conclusion: This case series emphasizes that triple therapy with TVR is an efficient treatment for therapy naïve HCV genotype 1 reinfected patients after liver transplantation. But therapeutic options for pretreated patients require improvement. Keyword: cyclosporine, interferon, ribavirin, hepatitis C, protease inhibitor.
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