Clinical benefits of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR) with hepatitis c virus (HCV) therapy beyond reducing liver-related outcomes have not been documented in HIV-coinfected patients, who have multiple competing health problems. To gauge the potential benefits of curing HCV in coinfected people, we examined changes in health-related quality of life (HRQOL), healthcare and substance use, and overall mortality after treatment for HCV Coinfection.
Prospective multicentre cohort study.
Among patients treated for HCV in the Canadian Coinfection Cohort study, self-reported HRQOL (using the EQ-5D), inpatient and outpatient medical visits, and substance use were assessed before, 6 months and 1 year after completing HCV therapy, comparing SVR-achievers and non-responders. Analysis of covariance and zero-inflated negative binomial regression were used to model the effects of SVR on HRQOL and healthcare use, respectively.
Of 1145 patients chronically infected with HCV, 223 (19%) received treatment while under follow-up in the cohort and had HRQOL data collected - 86 (36%) achieved SVR, 68 (29%) did not, 30 (13%) had ongoing treatment, and 39 (17%) had unknown responses. Compared to non-responders, those achieving a SVR had higher HRQOL scores over time (11-unit increase 1 year posttreatment, 95% CI: 2, 21 measured 1 year posttreatment) and a lower rate of health service utilization (adjusted incidence rate ratio: 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3, 0.9). Short-term mortality was low but appeared lower in SVR-achievers (incidence rates: 0.10 vs 0.12 deaths per 100 person-years). However, after successful treatment, a substantial number of patients increased alcohol consumption and continued to inject drugs.
Successful HCV treatment results in a range of health benefits for HIV/HCV-coinfected patients. Ongoing substance use, however, may mitigate the short- and long-term benefits associated with curing HCV.