Hepatitis A and B immunity and vaccination in chronic hepatitis B and C patients in a large United States cohort.
Acute hepatitis A superimposed on chronic liver disease (CLD) has been associated with severe or fulminant hepatitis. An open, multicenter study was performed to compare the safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated hepatitis A vaccine in patients with CLD with that in healthy subjects. A secondary objective was to compare the safety of the hepatitis A vaccine with that of a commercial hepatitis B vaccine in subjects with chronic hepatitis C. A total of 475 subjects over the age of 18 years were enrolled into 1 of 5 groups according to history, serological data, and previous diagnosis. Patients in groups 1 (healthy adults), 2 (chronic hepatitis B), 3 (chronic hepatitis C), and 5 (other CLD not caused by viral hepatitis) were vaccinated with two doses of inactivated hepatitis A vaccine, 6 months apart. Patients in group 4 (chronic hepatitis C) received 3 doses of a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine, according to a 0-, 1-, and 6-month schedule. Local injection-site symptoms were the most common reactions reported following vaccination in all groups (35.5% of all doses), with the hepatitis B vaccine eliciting fewer injection-site symptoms than the hepatitis A vaccine (19.8% compared with 37.5%). Although a higher percentage of healthy subjects (93%) seroconverted after a single dose of the hepatitis A vaccine than did subjects with chronic hepatitis C (73.7%) or CLD of nonviral etiologies (83.1%), more than 94% of all vaccinees were seropositive for anti-HAV after the complete vaccination course. At each time point, a lower geometric mean concentration of anti-HAV was observed for each group of CLD patients compared with the healthy control subjects. In conclusion, hepatitis A vaccine was well tolerated and induced a satisfactory immune response in patients with chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, and miscellaneous CLD.