Treatment of Hepatitis C virus infection with interferon-alpha, as monotherapy or in combination with ribavirin, is associated with side-effects including weight loss.
Dr Mutimer and colleagues from England described the evolution of body weight during combination antiviral treatment.
The researchers examined the possible determinants of weight loss.
The research team conducted the retrospective analysis of 126 patients.
|Median weight values at 24 weeks were 94 vs 91 at 48 weeks|
|Journal of Viral Hepatitis|
The patients received combination therapy of pegylated interferon-alpha-2b and ribavirin at our unit.
The team recorded body weight at each outpatient attendance during treatment and follow-up, and was expressed as a percentage of baseline value.
The researchers observed a decline of body weight during treatment.
The median weight values expressed as percentage of baseline weight at 4, and 12 weeks, were 98 and 95.
The team noted that the median weight values at 24, and 48 weeks were 94 and 91 respectively.
There was no significant association of increased weight loss with age, gender, pretreatment weight, ethnicity, or pretreatment histological stage.
The research team found no association of weight loss with cumulative interferon dose adjusted for body weight, Hepatitis C genotype or treatment outcome.
Median body weight returned to baseline within 6 months of stopping treatment.
Dr Mutimer's team concludes, “Patients experience significant weight loss during combination therapy.”
“Those experiencing greater weight losses during therapy did not benefit from improved antiviral response.”