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Health-related quality of life in Greek chronic hepatitis C patients during pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment.

Hippokratia 2010 April
UNLABELLED: Background - Aims: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) can cause a series of neuropsychiatric symptoms, whereas the currently approved treatment for this disease often induces similar symptoms as well. The aim of the present study was to compare Greek CHC patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with that of healthy controls, to identify any possible relationships between HRQoL and demographic and laboratory parameters and to study the fluctuation of HRQoL during therapy and follow-up.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninty nine patients with CHC and 91 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. ALT, viral load, HCV genotype, fibrosis stage by liver biopsy and BMI, were determined at baseline. All patients completed the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire, which was self-administered, before treatment. They were treated with pegylated interferon alpha2-a or alpha-2b and ribavirin for 24 or 48 weeks and evaluated in the middle of therapy, at the end and six months after treatment cessation. SF-36 questionnaire was also completed in each evaluation.

RESULTS: Patients' HRQoL was found to be below that of healthy controls in all SF-36 scales before treatment. There was a significant negative association between history of drug abuse and general health and a positive association between age and mental health. Multivariate analysis revealed that history of drug abuse seemed to play a significant role in bodily pain and general health of patients, as well as age did in vitality and mental health. The course of patients' HRQoL showed that in the middle of treatment values in all SF-36 scales were below those of baseline and they returned to pretreatment levels at the end of therapy. However, at the end of the six month follow-up period, an improvement in almost all scales compared to baseline was noted.

CONCLUSION: Our results showed that a) Greek CHC patients' HRQoL was worse than that of healthy individuals and fluctuated significantly during treatment b) A history of drug abuse and age can independently affect HRQoL c) During treatment values of HRQoL are worsened possibly due to interferon-a treatment and d) In the long-term treatment results in improvement of HRQoL.

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