This article has Open Peer Review reports available.
Successful sofosbuvir treatment with ribavirin dose reduction for chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 2 infection in a patient with ulcerative colitis: a case report
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 17 February 2016
Accepted: 7 June 2016
Published: 11 July 2016
Ulcerative colitis is a lifelong, immunologically mediated disease. Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are now available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. An interferon-free regimen appears useful, safe and effective for many patients for whom interferon-based treatment is contraindicated.
We studied a 56-year-old treatment-naïve Japanese man with chronic HCV genotype 2b infection who had ulcerative colitis. This patient was treated with sofosbuvir and ribavirin for 12 weeks. During treatment, diarrhoea and bloody faeces were frequent. After ribavirin was reduced to 400 mg daily, these symptoms decreased. Finally, the patient achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the stoppage of the treatment.
Clinicians should pay careful attention to the ribavirin dose in the treatment of certain HCV patients with inflammatory bowel disease who are receiving sofosbuvir plus ribavirin.
KeywordsCase report Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Interferon-free Ribavirin Ulcerative colitis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which comprises ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, is a chronic immunologically mediated disease . There are high-prevalence populations of IBD in North America and Europe . In India and Japan, the incidence is increasing . Ulcerative colitis is a lifelong, immunologically mediated disease and results from the inappropriate activation of the mucosal immune system by intestinal luminal antigens , although the progress in treatment of ulcerative colitis has been observed [2, 3].
The prevalences of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in patients with IBD are similar to those in the general population [4, 5], although these data are controversial [6, 7]. Because the prevalences of HBV and HCV are higher in Asian countries, including Japan, than those in non-Asian countries [8, 9], the management of these infectious diseases is still important in patients with IBD.
Interferon-α, which was previously the most common treatment for HCV, is a proinflammatory cytokine and can provoke a relapse of ulcerative colitis . The synthetic guanosine analogue ribavirin (1-beta-D-ribofuranosyl-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide) is also used for HCV eradication [11, 12]. The exacerbation of ulcerative colitis has also been reported during and/or after combination therapy with peginterferon plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C [13–15].
Recent advances in the treatment of patients infected with HCV make it possible to eradicate this virus with interferon-free regimens. Sofosbuvir is a potent nucleotide inhibitor for HCV RNA-dependent polymerase . The combination of sofosbuvir and ribavirin led to higher sustained virologic response (SVR) rates in HCV genotype 2-infected individuals . We report an ulcerative colitis-patient who was chronically infected with HCV genotype 2 and was successfully treated with sofosbuvir plus dose reduction of ribavirin for 12 weeks.
A 56-year-old man with a 31-year history of ulcerative colitis was diagnosed with HCV infection at age 46. The patient received a blood transfusion at age 4 when he had surgery for his jaw and denied other risk factors for HCV infection, including tattoos or intravenous drug use. The patient drank alcohol (21 g daily) for 20 years; had a medical history of hypertension, IgA nephropathy, type 2 diabetes mellitus and dilated cardiomyopathy; and took several medications for these diseases. His ulcerative colitis was relatively well-controlled with oral sarazopyridine (4500 mg daily) and a sarazopyridine suppository (300 mg daily). The HCV genotype was 2b, and the patient was interferon treatment-naïve because he had ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease.
Laboratory findings before treatment
477 × 104/μL
15.6 × 104/μL
In the present report, we present a 56-year-old HCV genotype 2-infected patient who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and achieved a SVR12 after combination treatment with sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks. In Japanese multicentre, open-label phase 3 trial, HCV genotype 2-infected patients received 12 weeks of treatment with 400 mg of sofosbuvir, administered orally once daily, and ribavirin, administered orally twice daily, with doses determined according to body weight (1000 mg daily in patients with a body weight of >80 kg) . But initial dose of the present case was 600 mg daily because we are afraid of adverse events of ribavirin. During treatment, the patient’s diarrhoea worsened, and the reduction of ribavirin with no reduction of sofosbuvir led to improvement in this symptom and the completion of therapy.
The mechanism of the inhibition of HCV replication by ribavirin is as follows: (1) ribavirin induces mutagenesis in HCV RNA; (2) ribavirin inhibits HCV RNA-dependent polymerase; (3) ribavirin inhibits the inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase enzyme and reduces intracellular guanosine pools, which are essential for HCV replication; and (4) ribavirin stimulates the T helper 1 (Th1) antiviral response, which leads to HCV eradication [8, 11, 12]. Ulcerative colitis is vaguely associated with abnormal Th2 immunity . Although we do not know the exact effects of ribavirin on mucosal immunity, ribavirin worsened the symptoms of the present case with ulcerative colitis.
Although 12-week-treatment with sofosbuvir and ribavirin could lead to diarrhoea in 9 % of HCV genotype 2/3-infected patients , of interest, 12-week-treatment with sofosbuvir and ledipasvir could lead to diarrhoea in only 4 % of HCV genotype 1-infected patients . We could not completely rule out the possibility that the combination of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin might be responsible, compared the only ribavirin.
One year before treatment, an endoscopic examination of the colon-rectum demonstrated that mucosal vascular permeability was reduced from the sigmoid colon to the rectum with marked mucus exudates. We could not completely rule out the possibility that this patient had baseline active mucosal disease but asymptomatic and then developed diarrhoea due to the sofosbuvir and ribavirin treatment. Although one important differential diagnosis of flare of ulcerative colitis is infection, as this patient did not have a high fever, we did not perform stool culture or use any antibiotics other than sarazopyridine. So we excluded bacterial infection in this patient.
HCV infection is a current leading cause of HCC in Japan and the United States . This patient should be followed up for the occurrence of HCC . Coexistence of IBD and chronic liver diseases, including chronic hepatitis C, leads to higher mortality rates than IBD alone . Interferon-free therapy with or without ribavirin could increase treatment efficacy and shorten treatment duration compared with previous standards of care, such as peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment. However, the clinician should pay special attention to the use of ribavirin in the management of HCV-infected patients with IBD.
We studied a HCV genotype 2b-infected patient with an ulcerative colitis exacerbation during sofosbuvir plus ribavirin treatment. The reduction of ribavirin improved this symptom, and the patient finally achieved a SVR12. Clinicians should pay careful attention to the ribavirin dose in the treatment of certain HCV patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, in sofosbuvir plus ribavirin treatment.
HBV, hepatitis B virus; HCV, hepatitis C virus; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; SVR, sustained virologic response; SVR12, SVR at 12 weeks; Th, T helper
Authors thank all Chiba University Hospital’s staff for patient’s care.
Availability of data and materials
YO, TK and TK saw the patient and drafted the manuscript. All authors revised manuscript and approved the final manuscript.
TK and OY received lecture fees from Gilead Sciences. The other authors have no competing interest to disclose.
Consent for publication
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of this case report and these data. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the editor of this journal. This case report did not require the review by the Institutional Review Board of Chiba University School of Medicine.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
- Ananthakrishnan AN. Epidemiology and risk factors for IBD. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015;12(4):205–17.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lawrance IC. Early investigational TNF receptor antagonists for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2015;24(6):761–8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Seo GS, Chae SC. Biological therapy for ulcerative colitis: an update. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(37):13234–8.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Papa A, Felice C, Marzo M, Andrisani G, Armuzzi A, Covino M, et al. Prevalence and natural history of hepatitis B and C infections in a large population of IBD patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α agents. J Crohns Colitis. 2013;7(2):113–9.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Chevaux JB, Nani A, Oussalah A, Venard V, Bensenane M, Belle A, et al. Prevalence of hepatitis B and C and risk factors for nonvaccination in inflammatory bowel disease patients in Northeast France. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010;16(6):916–24.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Loras C, Saro C, Gonzalez-Huix F, Mínguez M, Merino O, Gisbert JP, et al. Prevalence and factors related to hepatitis B and C in inflammatory bowel disease patients in Spain: a nationwide, multicenter study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(1):57–63.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lidar M, Langevitz P, Barzilai O, Ram M, Porat-Katz BS, Bizzaro N, et al. Infectious serologies and autoantibodies in inflammatory bowel disease: insinuations at a true pathogenic role. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1173:640–8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Omata M, Kanda T, Yu ML, Yokosuka O, Lim SG, Jafri W, et al. APASL consensus statements and management algorithms for hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatol Int. 2012;6(2):409–35.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sarin SK, Kumar M, Lau GK, Abbas Z, Chan HL, Chen CJ, et al. Asian-Pacific clinical practice guidelines on the management of hepatitis B: a 2015 update. Hepatol Int. 2016;10(1):1–98.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sawada K, Ohnishi K, Fukunaga K, Shimoyama T. A new treatment for HCV-ulcerative colitis comorbidity intolerant to INF-alpha. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003;98(1):228–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kanda T, Yokosuka O, Imazeki F, Tanaka M, Shino Y, Shimada H, et al. Inhibition of subgenomic hepatitis C virus RNA in Huh-7 cells: ribavirin induces mutagenesis in HCV RNA. J Viral Hepat. 2004;11(6):479–87.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kanda T, Imazeki F, Yokosuka O. New antiviral therapies for chronic hepatitis C. Hepatol Int. 2010;4(3):548–61.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Sprenger R, Sagmeister M, Offner F. Acute ulcerative colitis during successful interferon/ribavirin treatment for chronic hepatitis. Gut. 2005;54(3):438–9.PubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Tursi A. Rapid onset of ulcerative colitis after treatment with PEG-interferon plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2007;13(9):1189–90.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Morimoto K, Yamagami H, Hosomi S, Ohira M, Suekane T, Kamata N, et al. Development of pouchitis with combination therapy with peg-interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C in a patient with ulcerative colitis who underwent pouch surgery. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(6):1609–10.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jacobson IM, Gordon SC, Kowdley KV, Yoshida EM, Rodriguez-Torres M, Sulkowski MS, et al. Sofosbuvir for hepatitis C genotype 2 or 3 in patients without treatment options. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(20):1867–77.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Omata M, Nishiguchi S, Ueno Y, Mochizuki H, Izumi N, Ikeda F, et al. Sofosbuvir plus ribavirin in Japanese patients with chronic genotype 2 HCV infection: an open-label, phase 3 trial. J Viral Hepat. 2014;21(11):762–8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Neurath MF, Finotto S, Glimcher LH. The role of Th1/Th2 polarization in mucosal immunity. Nat Med. 2002;8(6):567–73.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kowdley KV, Gordon SC, Reddy KR, Rossaro L, Bernstein DE, Lawitz E, et al. Ledipasvir and sofosbuvir for 8 or 12 weeks for chronic HCV without cirrhosis. N Engl J Med. 2014;370:1879–88.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bargiggia S, Thorburn D, Anderloni A, Ardizzone S, Giorgi A, Bianchi Porro G, et al. Is interferon-alpha therapy safe and effective for patients with chronic hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel disease? A case-control study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005;22(3):209–15.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar