Management of hepatitis C virus-related arthritis
Authors: Palazzi, Carlo; Olivieri, Ignazio; Cacciatore, Pierluigi; Pennese, Ernesta; D’Amico, Emilio
Source: Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, Volume 6, Number 1, 1 January 2005 , pp. 27-34(8)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:In recent years, hepatitis C virus-related arthritis (HCVrA) has been recognised as an autonomous rheumatic disorder. Two subsets of the disease have been identified: a polyarthritis involving small joints that resembles rheumatoid arthritis, but is usually milder, and a mono-oligoarthritis that shows an intermittent course and is frequently associated with the presence of cryo-globulins in serum. Few data about HCVrA treatment are reported in the literature. As a consequence, the therapeutic approach for this disorder is still largely empirical. Hydroxychloroquine, low doses of corticosteroids and NSAIDs are frequently administered to patients with HCVrA, but some authors describe an incomplete relief of symptoms, especially in the rheumatoid-like subset. Intake of low doses of corticosteroids and NSAIDs is more effective in subjects belonging to the mono-oligoarthritis group. Use of antiviral drugs (IFN plus ribavirin) shows good results, but IFN can induce or worsen autoimmune disorders. For this reason, in our opinion, this approach should be prescribed only when required by the coexistent liver disease. On the basis of the poor available data, the administration of anti-TNF-α agents seems safe in HCV patients, but the usually non-aggressive course of HCVrA does not justify their use as a current therapy.
Document Type: Review Article
Publication date: January 1, 2005