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Life-threatening thrombocytopenia and nephrotic syndrome due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis associated with pegylated interferon α-2b and ribavirin treatment for hepatitis C


Dr. Cláudia Alves Couto, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Av. Professor Alfredo Balena, 190, 30130-100 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
Tel: +55 31 3248 9746
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Abstract: Background: Interferon-α (IFN-α)and ribavirin combination therapy for chronic infection with hepatitis C virus produces a number of well-described side effects. Combination therapy with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) yields an adverse event profile similar to that observed with the standard IFN, although the frequency of certain adverse events may vary according to the preparation.

Case report: We report the case of a 44-year-old man who was treated with ribavirin and PEG-IFN-α-2b for chronic hepatitis C and developed two rare side effects simultaneously on the 16th week of therapy: severe thrombocytopenia and nephrotic syndrome due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The antiviral treatment was immediately interrupted and the patient received immunosuppressive therapy. He promptly recovered from the thrombocytopenia and partially and slowly from the nephrotic syndrome. To our knowledge, this is the first case reported of the development of such complications at the same time.