with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who receive a liver transplant
will eventually infect their new livers with the virus, but a study by
Mayo Clinic showed that the virus can be eradicated in these patients,
thus preserving their new organs.
To prevent organ rejection,
standard pre- and post-transplant treatment requires injections of
pegylated interferon (pegIFN) with ribavirin (RBV). Interferon engages
the immune system to keep the HCV in check, but this immune response can
also lead to organ rejection, as well as a variety of other side
effects including anemia, depression, irritability, influenza-like
symptoms, insomnia and hair loss, according to Dr. Pungpapong, who
presented the study results at The Liver Meeting 2014.
The FDA approved SOF and
SMV for pretransplant use last year, but the agency required that they
be combined with interferon and RBV. In a large clinical trial,
researchers tested the two drugs without interferon in
pretransplantation patients and found the combination to be an effective
therapy. In this study, the Mayo researchers extended the idea of using
these medications together without pegIFN in post-transplant patients.