In this study, physicians from the United States assessed the effect of 2 interferon-based therapies on the health-related QOL, work productivity and resource utilization in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
The team randomized 412 patients to either peginterferon alpha (pegIFN) 2a monotherapy (n = 206) or interferon alpha (IFN) 2b plus ribavirin (RBV) (n = 206).
The team administered the PegIFN 2a subcutaneously at a dose of 180 g once weekly for 48 weeks. The IFN 2b/RBV was administered at doses of 3 MU thrice weekly subcutaneously and 1000-1200 mg/day orally.
The physicians used the SF-36 Health Survey Questionnaire and additional generic and specific scales to evaluate the patients.
They found that the IFN 2b/RBV patients score less well for all SF-36 summary and Hepatitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (HQLQ)-specific scales than the pegIFN 2a group. These differences were pronounced during the first 24 weeks of treatment.
The pegIFN group also scored better on all measures of work functioning and productivity at each visit.
Dr Perrillo's team concluded that, "Treatment with pegIFN 2a relative to IFN 2b/RBV minimizes the adverse impact of therapy on health-related QOL".
"Patients randomized to pegIFN 2a had improved work productivity, less activity impairment, decreased need for prescription drugs to treat adverse effects, and better adherence to therapy".