OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to explore the extent of thrombocytopenia (TCP), anaemia and leucopenia in patients with hepatitis C and evaluate how they impact the management of antiviral therapy, the attainment of sustained virological response (SVR), and some therapy-related adverse events. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Scottish Hepatitis C Clinical Database was used in this retrospective study. The prevalence of TCP, anaemia and leucopenia was evaluated. The impact of the three deficiencies on antiviral therapy management, serious adverse events and SVR attainment was assessed in patients who received therapy. RESULTS: The prevalence of TCP, anaemia and leucopenia was 18.5, 0.9 and 0.2% among 4907 treated patients at baseline, increasing to 72, 25.8 and 5.4% during treatment, respectively. Dose reduction occurred in 29.3% of the patients without TCP; this percentage was higher in those with baseline TCP (53%) and in those who acquired it during treatment (35%). Similar results were found for anaemia and leucopenia. Baseline TCP (odds ratio=0.67, P<0.001) and baseline anaemia (odds ratio=0.43, P=0.03) were identified as risk factors associated with lower SVR rate; acquired TCP and anaemia were not associated with reduced SVR. CONCLUSION: Baseline TCP or anaemia increased the risk of dose cessation. Patients who acquired TCP, anaemia or leucopenia during treatment did not exhibit compromised SVR rates, whereas patients with TCP or anaemia at baseline did. The potential benefit of growth factors in maintaining SVR rate is likely to be confined to those with baseline TCP or anaemia rather than to those who acquire it during therapy, where dose reduction does not appear to reduce the chance of SVR.
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