Anemia management in the era of triple combination therapy for chronic HCV

Ira M. Jacobson, Kris V. Kowdley, Paul Y. Kwo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Boceprevir or telaprevir plus ribavirin (RBV) and pegylated interferon-α (pegIFN-α) is the new standard-of-care therapy for patients who are chronically infected with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV). The addition of these protease inhibitors to the RBV/pegIFN-α combination regimen has significantly improved rates of sustained virologic response (SVR); however, the incidence of anemia has also increased significantly. Anemia can interfere with patients' quality of life, work productivity, and treatment adherence. Severe anemia can cause morbidity and even mortality. For the management of anemia during triple combination therapy, RBV dose reduction is recommended as an initial course of action. Retrospective analyses of carefully selected patient cohorts suggest that RBV dose reduction does not reduce SVR rates. However, this observation needs to be confirmed in prospective trials with cohorts that more accurately reflect the challenging patients treated in real-world practice. Adequate doses of RBV should be maintained during triple combination therapy, as phase II trials have demonstrated that RBV is essential for attaining optimal SVR rates and preventing viral breakthrough, relapse, and emergence of resistant variants. This roundtable addresses key points related to the management of anemia in the era of triple combination therapy, including the increasing problem of anemia, strategies for anemia management, and the importance of maintaining adequate RBV exposure as part of the HCV treatment regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalGastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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    Jacobson, I. M., Kowdley, K. V., & Kwo, P. Y. (2012). Anemia management in the era of triple combination therapy for chronic HCV. Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 8(9), 3-15.