1Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.
2Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.
3Clemson University School of Health Research, Clemson, SC, USA.
4Department of Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville, SC, USA.
5Department of Internal Medicine, Prisma Health, Greenville, SC, USA.
Background: Although efforts to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people who inject drugs (PWID) yield high rates of sustained virologic response (SVR), the relationship between successful HCV treatment and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among PWID is poorly understood. This study examined HRQOL changes throughout HCV treatment and post-treatment for PWID achieving SVR.
Methods: Participants included 141 PWID who achieved SVR following HCV treatment onsite at three opioid agonist treatment (OAT) clinics in Bronx, NY. The EQ-5D-3L assesses five health dimensions (mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, anxiety/depression), producing an index of HRQOL ranging from 0-1. EQ-5D-3L was measured at baseline, 4-, 8-, and 12-weeks during treatment and 12- and 24-weeks post-treatment. Linear mixed effects regression models were used to assess changes in the mean EQ-5D-3L index over time.
Results: Mean EQ-5D-3L index baseline was 0.66 (SE=0.02). Whereas over half the population reported no baseline problems with self-care (85.1%), usual activities (56.0%), and mobility (52.5%), at least two-thirds reported problems with pain/discomfort (78.0%) and anxiety/depression (66.0%), with 22.0% and 21.3% reporting extreme problems for pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression, respectively. Twenty-four weeks post-treatment, proportions reporting pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression decreased by 25.7% and 24.0%, respectively. The mean EQ-5D-3L index significantly improved during treatment (p<0.0001), and improvement was sustained following treatment completion, with mean EQ-5D-3L index of 0.77 (SE=0.02) 12-weeks post-SVR.
Conclusions: HCV treatment led to sustained improvement in HRQOL for PWID on OAT who achieved SVR. Future research is necessary to determine whether improvements in HRQOL can be sustained beyond 12-weeks post-SVR.