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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 109-117
Ribavirin as a beneficial treatment option for hepatitis C virusassociated glomerular disease


1 Division of Nephrology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation, Milano, Italy
2 Division of Pathology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation, Milano, Italy
3 Division of Gastroenterology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation, Milano, Italy
4 Division of Gastroenterology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation; Deparment of Medicine, University School of Medicine, Milano, Italy
5 Division of Nephrology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation; Deparment of Medicine, University School of Medicine, Milano, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Fabrizio Fabrizi
Division of Nephrology, Maggiore Hospital and IRCCS Foundation, Milano
Italy
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.279930

PMID: 32129203

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The management of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced glomerular disease remains unsatisfactory despite novel advances in antiviral and immunosuppressive therapy. Recent evidence highlighted the role of ribavirin, a drug provided with immunomodulatory properties, in the treatment of glomerular diseases associated with chronic HCV. We administered low-dose ribavirin (200 mg/day or 200 mg twice a week or 200 mg thrice weekly) in a prospective fashion to a group of patients with HCV-associated glomerular disease (n = 7). Ribavirin monotherapy was given in most (n = 6) patients and was accompanied by erythropoietin therapy in all. The primary endpoint was reduction of 24-h proteinuria after treatment ended; the secondary end-points were decrease in serum creatinine and amelioration of urinary abnormalities. We collected data on on-treatment adverse events (AEs), serious AEs, and laboratory abnormalities. Many patients (n = 6) had inactive HCV infection as they had shown HCV RNA clearance from serum after antiviral therapy with direct-acting antivirals. Some patients (n = 4) had membranoproliferative glomerulo- nephritis, the diagnosis being confirmed by kidney histology in three cases; others (n = 2) received diagnosis of diabetic glomerulosclerosis, confirmed in one by kidney biopsy. We observed consistent reduction of 24-h proteinuria in two individuals after ribavirin therapy; another patient reported disappearance of microscopic hematuria. We found severe AE (hemolytic anemia) in three patients which required discontinuation of ribavirin treatment in two patients, one required hospitalization. Other AEs were cutaneous rash (n = 1), dyspepsia (n = 1), and fatigue (n = 1). Low-dose ribavirin was able to give consistent reduction of 24-h proteinuria in two patients; tolerance to ribavirin was unsatisfactory. We need further studies aimed to expand our knowledge on ribavirin therapy of HCV-associated glomerular disease. The low incidence of the disease hampers the conduction of clinical trials on this aim.


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