Background: It is uncertain whether a 4-week induction period of pegylated interferon and ribavirin increases early virological response (EVR) in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients. Methods: HIV and HCV genotype 1- and 4-coinfected subjects were randomized to receive pegylated interferon-α2a 270 μg/week plus ribavirin 1,600 mg daily and epoetin-β for 4 weeks, followed by pegylated interferon-α2a at standard dosages plus weight-based ribavirin (WBR) dosage for 8 weeks (induction arm [IA]), or pegylated interferon-α2a plus WBR for 12 weeks (standard therapy arm [SA]). HCV RNA was determined at weeks 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 12. Ribavirin plasma trough concentrations were determined at weeks 4 (RBV-C4) and 12 (RBV-C12). Results: A total of 67 patients were included; 33 in the SA and 34 in the IA. Overall, 25% received nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)-sparing regimens. More patients achieved an HCV RNA decrease ≥1 log10 at week 4 in the IA than in the SA (62% versus 38%; P=0.017), but EVR rates were similar in the two groups (74% versus 59% in the IA and SA, respectively; P=0.15). Independent predictors of faster HCV RNA decrease at 12 weeks were higher RBV-C4 and younger age. RBV-C4 were higher in patients allocated in the IA and in those receiving NRTIs (P=0.039). Conclusions: A 4-week induction with pegylated interferon-α2a plus ribavirin was associated with a greater decrease in HCV RNA at week 4; however, this did not translate into higher EVR rates. Higher RBV doses and avoidance of NRTI-sparing antiretroviral regimens might improve HCV treatment efficacy. ©2011 International Medical Press.