Case Report
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2005. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Sep 14, 2005; 11(34): 5392-5393
Published online Sep 14, 2005. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v11.i34.5392
Acute sensorineural hearing loss associated with peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy during hepatitis C treatment: Outcome after resumption of therapy
Victor K Wong, Cindy Cheong-Lee, Jo-Ann E Ford, Eric M Yoshida
Victor K Wong, Eric M Yoshida, Department of Medicine, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Cindy Cheong-Lee, Jo-Ann E Ford, Eric M Yoshida, University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Hepatitis Program, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Correspondence to: Dr. Eric M Yoshida, Division of Gastroenterology, Vancouver General Hospital, 100-2647 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3P1, Canada.
Telephone: +1-604-875-5371 Fax: +1-604-875-5371
Received: March 28, 2005
Revised: April 13, 2005
Accepted: April 18, 2005
Published online: September 14, 2005

Peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is well known to be associated with significant adverse effects. Sensorineural hearing loss, that in most cases is unilateral, has been reported as a consequence of therapy with both non-pegylated and pegylated interferon (pegIFN) but is not a well-known adverse effect. We report a 45-year-old Caucasian woman who developed acute sensorineural hearing loss 2 mo after starting therapy with pegIFN-α 2b and ribavirin for the treatment of chronic HCV, genotype 1a. She did not report the hearing loss to the hepatitis clinic until 1 mo, later whereupon therapy was promptly discontinued. Although her serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) normalized and her HCV-RNA became undetectable after 12 wk of pegIFN and ribavirin therapy, after discontinuation, her HCV-RNA became detectable with significant elevations of serum ALT. Four months after initial discontinuation, the patient re-commenced pegIFN and ribavirin combination therapy. After 44 of 48 wk of therapy, the patient’s liver biochemistry has normalized and the HCV-RNA is undetectable. She has not developed worsening of her hearing loss and hearing on the left-side is unaffected. Both patients and physicians should be aware that sensorineural hearing loss may occur with pegIFN therapy. Our experience suggests that re-institution of therapy is not always associated with further hearing impairment.

Keywords: Peginterferon, Hepatitis C, Sensorineural hearing loss