The antiviral and histological benefits of peginterferon/ribavirin therapy are well established.
However, the effects on health-related quality of life and sexual health are less certain.
Dr Herbert Bonkovsky and colleagues from Connecticut assessed health-related quality of life, and sexual health in advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis in the HALT-C Trial.
The team reported that 1144 subjects completed Short-Form 36, and sexual health questionnaires prior to, and after 24 weeks, of peginterferon/ribavirin therapy.
The research team noted that 373 subjects were Hepatitis C virus RNA negative at week 20, and continued therapy through week 48.
|Sustained virological responses patients improved in 7 domains|
|Journal of Hepatology|
The researchers assessed 258 patients at week 72.
The team found that 180 achieved sustained virological responses, and 78 relapsed.
At baseline, patients had poorer scores for all 8 Short-Form 36 domains compared to healthy controls.
Patients with cirrhosis had lower health-related quality of life scores than those with bridging fibrosis, as did patients with higher depression scores.
The team observed that sustained virological response patients had significant improvements in 7 domains.
In contrast, relapsers had significant worsening in 1 domain.
Sexual scores improved in sustained virological response patients and decreased in relapsers.
In multivariate analyses, improvements in health-related quality of life and sexual scores were significantly associated with sustained virological responses.
However, the team noted that these scores were less striking in patients with lower depression scores.
Dr Bonkovsky's team concludes, “Achievement of sustained virological responses after peginterferon/ribavirin therapy improves health-related quality of life, and sexual health in chronic Hepatitis C patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis.”