Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
There is uncertainty about the efficacy and safety of treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD can become exacerbated during treatment with interferon (IFN), and serious adverse events, such as pancytopenia or hepatotoxicity, can be compounded by drug interactions. We investigated the risk of exacerbation of IBD during HCV therapy and the rate of adverse effects of concomitant therapy for HCV and IBD. We also evaluated the efficacy of HCV treatment in the IBD population.
We conducted a retrospective review of all patients who underwent IFN-based treatment for HCV at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota from 2001 to 2012. Exacerbation of IBD was evaluated by clinical, endoscopic, and histologic parameters during antiviral therapy and the ensuing 12 months. Hematologic toxicity was assessed by levels of all 3 cell lineages at baseline and during therapy. Efficacy of antiviral treatment was assessed by serum levels of HCV RNA until 24 weeks after completion of therapy. We also conducted a detailed MEDLINE database search and reviewed the literature on this topic.
We identified 15 subjects with concomitant IBD (8 with ulcerative colitis and 7 with Crohn's disease). Only 1 patient experienced exacerbation of the disease during therapy; symptoms were controlled with mesalamine enemas. Another patient developed a flare shortly after completing antiviral therapy; symptoms returned spontaneously to baseline 2 weeks later. All subjects experienced an anticipated degree of pancytopenia while on IFN-based therapy. The rate of sustained virologic response was 67%. A concise review of available literature regarding the safety and efficacy of HCV treatment in IBD patients is also presented; although limited, the published data appear to support the safety of treatment with IFN in patients whose IBD is under control.
In conjunction with data from the literature, our findings indicate that the efficacy and safety of HCV therapy with IFN and ribavirin for patients with IBD are comparable to those of subjects without IBD.