1Department of Infection and Immunology, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic hepatitis in 170 million people worldwide and can progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma, a disease process accelerated in HIV co-infection. Approximately 25% of HIV infected people are co-infected with HCV (worldwide prevalence 4-5 million) and up to 16.7% of deaths in this population are attributable to HCV co-infection. Previous treatment options for HCV were limited to pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV), a combination that demonstrated lower successful cure rates in genotype 1 HCV mono-infection and HIV/HCV co-infection, and is also associated with a considerable adverse side-effect profile. The development of directly acting antivirals (DAAs) offers the first class of drug to achieve good viral suppression in previously hard-to-treat patient groups. We review the benefits, tolerability and drug interactions with concomitant drugs of the DAA simeprevir for patients who have HCV mono-infection and hep C/HIV co-infection.