BACKGROUND: Adherence to hepatitis C treatment is influenced by alcohol as is the action of interferon; yet the clinical significance of the latter remains unclear. The aim of our study was to investigate the influence of ongoing alcohol intake on sustained viral response (SVR) rates in adherent patients receiving hepatitis C treatment.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of patients treated with antiviral therapy for hepatitis C infection who were enrolled in the Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study was completed. Patients were eligible for the study if they had their HCV RNA tested 6 months following treatment completion and at least one cohort follow-up visit during HCV therapy, documenting the consumed amount of alcohol. They were assigned to three groups according to the amount of alcohol consumption: group A without alcohol consumption, group B ≤24g/d alcohol and group C >24g/d alcohol.
RESULTS: 554 patients were included. Patients with at least 80% of the scheduled cumulative dose and duration did not significantly differ between the three groups. SVR rates according to alcohol consumption were 60% for non-drinkers (group A), 57% in group B and 50% in group C. No significant negative influence from alcohol consumption during therapy was observed in the multiple regression analysis for treatment success.
CONCLUSION: In this evaluation, we demonstrated comparable SVR rates in non-drinkers and in patients with daily amounts of alcohol intake up to 24g during hepatitis C therapy.