[Treatment of hepatitis C in patients on renal replacement therapy].
ABSTRACT The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among patients on hemodialysis is about ten times higher than in the normal population. The infection can induce chronic glomerulonephritis, as an extrahepatic manifestation, which can lead to end stage renal disease. However, in the majority of the patients hepatitis C virus is acquired as a nosocomial infection during the hemodialysis. In most of the infected patients the liver enzymes are usually normal and need regular screening of the hepatitis C antibody to detect the infection. Despite of the normal liver enzymes, the liver disease may progress to cirrhosis. A part of the patients wait for renal transplantation. The immunosuppressive treatment after the renal transplantation results in a significantly increased viral replication which might induce further progression of the liver disease. Interferon treatment given after the transplantation can induce rejection and graft failure. Therefore the antiviral treatment should be administered during the hemodialysis or earlier. Only limited data are available with the treatment of patients with impaired renal function. Mostly alfa-interferon was used in these patients. Due to the impaired renal clearance and higher serum concentration interferon seems to be more effective, but less tolerable in patients with end stage renal disease than in normal patients. Ribavirin is also excreted exclusively by the kidney and the anemia is even more pronounced in these patients, therefore it is contraindicated in patients on hemodialysis. The pharmacokinetics of the pegylated interferon alfa-2a is very advantageous for the patients with end stage renal disease. The safety and efficacy of peginterferon alfa-2a is now being confirmed in many publications.