Conference Coverage

Treatment of HCV in special populations



HCV in liver transplant recipients

“In the years before the direct-acting antivirals, treating transplant patients was always very challenging,” Dr. Terrault recalled. “They had very low response rates to therapy. That’s all gone away. Now we can say that liver transplant recipients who require treatment have response rates that are the same as in individuals who have not had a transplant. These patients are now being treated earlier and earlier after their transplant because you can do it safely.”

She pointed to a study presented at the 2017 AASLD meeting by Kosh Agarwal, MD, of Kings College London. It involved 79 adults with recurrent genotypes 1-4 HCV infection post–liver transplant who were treated with sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (Epclusa) for 12 weeks with a total SVR rate of 96%.

“The nice thing about sofosbuvir/velpatasvir is there are no drug-drug interactions with immunosuppressive drugs. Now it’s very easy to take care of these patients. The SVR rates are excellent,” Dr. Terrault observed.

The other combination that’s been studied specifically in liver transplant recipients, and in kidney transplant recipients as well, is glecapravir/pibrentasvir. In the MAGELLAN-2 study of 100 such patients with genotypes 1-6 HCV, the SVR rate was 99% with no drug-related adverse events leading to discontinuation.

Persons who inject drugs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization want HCV eradicated by 2030. If that’s going to happen, physicians will have to become more comfortable treating the disease in injectable drug users, a population with a high prevalence of HCV. Several studies have now shown that very high SVR rates can be achieved with direct-acting antiviral regimens as short as 8 weeks in these individuals, even if they are concurrently injecting drugs.


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