Among people without liver disease, curing hepatitis C virus (HCV) with interferon-free drug regimens is associated with a reduced risk of death, Healio reports.

Publishing their findings in the journal Hepatology, researchers analyzed data from the Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Clinical Case Registry on 103,346 people with genotype 1, 2 or 3 of hep C who had neither HIV nor advanced liver disease. The latter category was defined as having a FIB-4 score (which measures liver disease severity) at or below 3.25 and no diagnosis of cirrhosis, liver decompensation or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer), or history of liver transplantation.

Out of 40,664 veterans in this database who were treated with interferon-free direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens, 39,374 (96.8 percent) achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure), while 1,290 (3.2 percent) were not cured. The researchers compared the cured individuals with 62,682 people with hep C who were not treated for the virus.

Per 10,000 cumulative years of follow-up, those who were cured experienced 118 deaths, those who were treated but not cured experienced 284 deaths and those who were not treated experienced 384 deaths.

Among those with a FIB-4 score blow 1.45, being cured of hep C lowered their risk of death by 46 percent compared with being treated but not cured, while, compared with being treated but not cured, curing the virus lowered the risk of death by 63 percent among those with a FIB-4 score between 1.45 and 3.25. Among those in the two FIB-4 scoring bracket, curing hep C was linked to a respective 67 percent and 71 percent reduction in the risk of death compared with not being treated.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that curing hep C was independently associated with a 56 percent reduced risk of premature death compared with being treated but not cured and a 68 percent reduced risk of death compared with not being treated.

To read the Healio article, click here

To read the study abstract, click here.