Curing hepatitis C virus (HCV) may not end the risk of liver-related symptoms. About 1 in 10 of those who experience what is known as cryoglobulins when they start hep C treatment are at risk of relapse of HCV-related symptoms within two years, MedPage Today reports.
Cryoglobulins are clumps of antibodies that can give rise to inflammation and block blood vessels, leading to conditions such as skin rashes or kidney failure.
Researchers conducted a study of 88 people with hepatitis C, including 46 individuals who had symptoms of HCV-driven cryoglobulin vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) and 42 who did not. All the participants had evidence of cryoglobulins circulating in their bodies. The study members, who had an average age of 63 years, were followed for a median 24 months after they were treated for hep C.
Findings were presented at the 52nd International Liver Congress in Paris.
Sixty-three percent of the study cohort had cirrhosis. Those who had HIV coinfection, were receiving a liver transplant or had autoimmune disorders were excluded from the study.
Forty of the 46 participants with cryoglobulin vasculitis achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure), for a cure rate of 91 percent. At their last follow-up visit, 43 percent of those with such symptoms and 70 percent of those without such symptoms experienced a complete immunological response in which their cryoglobulins cleared up.
Out of the symptomatic group, five individuals (10 percent), all of whom were female, experienced relapses of hep C–driven symptoms during the study’s follow-up period. All of them had been cured of the virus.
To read the MedPage Today article, click here.