Background and aim. Interferon plus Ribavirin represent the most effective therapy for chronic hepatitis C. Its efficiency is limited by the occurrence of numerous side-effects. A previous study observed in Romanian patients an impairment of quality of life in chronic viral hepatitis C before antiviral therapy. We looked for the effect of this treatment on health-related quality of life in chronic hepatitis C when measured immediately after the antiviral therapy.

Methods. 35 patients with hepatitis C were given Interferon alpha 3MU tiw plus Ribavirin 1000-1200 mg for 48 weeks. Questionnaire-based assessments of health-related quality of life were performed before and immediately after the treatment using the SF-36 questionnaire. Also, in pretest, the health-related quality of life scores were compared in these patients with "normal" subjects (matched on age and sex). In order to compensate for the lack of a specific control group during the longitudinal study, normative comparisons were performed in posttest.

Results. Before treatment, patients had significant impairment in all SF-36 concepts compared to normal controls (all p<0.05). The level of transaminases before the treatment was high (out of the normal range) and decreased after the treatment, reaching the normal range (27 of 35). Immediately after the treatment, SF-36 scores did not show any significant differences, as compared to the pretest, no matter what the viral response was (p>0.10).

Conclusions. Patients with chronic viral hepatitis C have a markedly reduced health-related quality of life both before and after the treatment. The antiviral therapy does not influence the level of the quality of life, when measured immediately after finishing the treatment.


Health-related quality of life, chronic C hepatitis, therapy