Background: In this paper, we report the health related quality of life (HRQOL) data from patients with hepatitis C viral infection (HCV) who were refractory to prior therapy and had re-treatment with a combination of Pegylated interferon alpha2b and ribavirin. We hypothesized that the HRQOL will improve in those patients who attain sustained viral response similar to naïve patients undergoing treatment for HCV. Methods: HRQOL data was obtained from 152 patients enrolled into a randomized study for re-treatment of HCV refractory to prior therapy with interferon alpha-2b in combination with ribavirin. The treatment protocol was for 48 weeks and had a high and low dose arm. The HRQOL data was collected at baseline, weeks 24 and 48 of treatment, and at 24 week follow-up after treatment. A repeated measures statistical model was used for comparing the HRQOL domain scores between the responders and non-responders and the treatment groups. The responders and non-responders were also compared to the age and sex adjusted national mean scores. Results: Twenty-five of the 152 (17%) patients achieved a sustained viral response. At baseline, HRQOL is lower in HCV patients compared to national norms. The norm based HRQOL domain scores for the different domains of the SF-36 instrument were as follows: physical functioning = 47.13, role-physical = 46.87, bodily pain = 48.00, general health = 44.01, vitality = 45.39, social functioning = 47.05, role-emotional = 48.88, mental health = 48.76, physical component score 43.26 and mental component score 46.17. The scores decreased during therapy in those who would be responders and non-responders, but the pattern of change was different. During the treatment, the HRQOL domain scores of responders decrease notably in the domain of vitality. At week 48 vitality scores were worst in responders. 5 of the 8 domain scores were lower compared to baseline in non-responders. At 24 weeks post treatment follow up, HRQOL in those refractory patients who respond to retreatment tended to be better than the national average in the domains of vitality (p = .06), social functioning (p = .06) and role-emotional (p = .03) while the non-responders improved their scores in domains of physical function and bodily pain. Conclusion: We conclude that patients who are to be responders and non-responders behave differently in terms of the HRQOL domain scores when re-treated with a combination of interferon alpha 2b and ribavirin. The responders sustained a significant decrease in the domain score of vitality while 5 of the 8 domain scores decrease in non-responders at the end of treatment. At the end of follow up, in responders, the HRQOL score tended to be better than the national average notably in the domains of role-emotional, vitality and social functioning. On the other hand, in non-responders, the domain scores of physical function improve, while that of role-emotional worsened.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health