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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 475390, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/475390
Case Report

Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C in a Patient Affected by Systemic Sclerosis

1Department of Oncology, IRCCS Maugeri Foundation, via Maugeri 8, 27100 Pavia, Italy
2Department of Pathology, IRCCS Maugeri Foundation, via Maugeri 8, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Received 7 May 2009; Revised 20 August 2009; Accepted 16 October 2009

Academic Editor: Fabio Marra

Copyright © 2009 Guido Poggi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The currently recommended treatment for patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is pegilated interferon α (IFN α) plus ribavirin. Despite the numerous benefits of this therapy, there is an increasing concern regarding his tolerance. Among the most common side effects, interferon may trigger the onset or exacerbation of autoimmune diseases. When chronic hepatitis C coexists with an autoimmune disorder, it is not clear whether using interferon is better than avoiding it. We evaluated the disease state of a 55-year old female affected by sistemic sclerosis (SSc), during and after therapy with IFNα pegilated plus ribavirin for chronic HCV infection. We were worried about the potential worsening of the autoimmune disease during the therapy, but we were confident that we would give our patient a short course of peginterferon and ribavirin. A mild, asymptomatic worsening of lung SSc was observed during IFN administration, without life threatening symptoms. After 24 months follow up we observed the maintenance of the virological response and a good control of the rheumatological disease. Thus, in liver disease at high risk of progression and concomitant SSc, the antiviral therapy with IFNα is a feasible approach.