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J Hepatol. 2004 Apr;40(4):675-81.

The impact of peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin combination therapy on health-related quality of life in chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of California, San Diego, USA.



Peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin improves sustained virological responses compared with interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin, or peginterferon alfa-2a alone in chronic hepatitis C. We examined the impact of these treatments on health related quality of life (HRQOL).


Patients (n=1121) were randomized to peginterferon alfa-2a weekly plus ribavirin or placebo, or interferon alfa-2b thrice weekly plus ribavirin. HRQOL was assessed with the SF-36 Health Survey and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS).


Patients receiving peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin reported better HRQOL than those receiving interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin. These differences were statistically significant for three SF-36 domains and both FSS scores (p<=0.05). Patients receiving peginterferon alfa-2a plus placebo had the least impairment; adding ribavirin significantly decreased five domains of the SF-36 and both FSS scores. Sustained virological response was associated with improvement at follow-up on all SF-36 and FSS scores.


The effects of combination therapy on HRQOL and fatigue are less with peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin than interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin. Each medication in combination therapy with interferon and ribavirin, affects patients' quality of life differently. Understanding the relationship of specific therapeutic options to HRQOL may help physicians minimize the impact of therapy on HRQOL.

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