Ribavirin therapy for hepatitis E virus-induced acute on chronic liver failure: a preliminary report.Antivir Ther. 2012; 17(6):1091-6.AT
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a common cause of acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF) in HEV hyperendemic regions with high mortality. Treatment for HEV-induced ACLF is currently not available. Recently, efficacy of ribavirin in genotype 3 chronic hepatitis E patients has been reported; however, whether ribavirin is effective in genotype 1 HEV infection is not yet known. The present study includes four patients with HEV-induced ACLF treated with ribavirin in a genotype 1 HEV hyperendemic region. Diagnosis of ACLF was made by conventional criteria and HEV as the cause of ACLF was confirmed by detection of HEV RNA by reverse transcriptase PCR. Ribavirin dose ranged from 200 to 600 mg/day and was used for a median duration of 12 (range 3-24) weeks. All patients had undetectable HEV in 3-8 weeks, survived and none had serious adverse effects. This preliminary observation from a single centre indicates that ribavirin may be an effective therapeutic agent for HEV-induced ACLF and a randomized control trial is needed to establish its efficacy.