Why is interferon (IFN) contraindicated following liver transplantation in patients with hepatitis C (hep C) infection?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Recurrent hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection is universal after liver transplantation, can lead to cirrhosis in 30% of patients within 5 years, and is emerging as the most common cause of retransplantation in the United States. [136]  Interferon (IFN) is contraindicated after organ transplantation because of its high risk of precipitating rejection, in part due to upregulation of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system by IFN. Liver transplantation is a possible exception, however, as allograft rejection is uncommon in liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV infection who are treated with IFN-based therapies.

Recommendations are based on HCV Guidance: Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C, guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (ISDA). [9]  They are  subject to change.

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