Interferon, along with depression and fatigue, is an independent variable that dampens the experience of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. Researchers polled 525 people about their quality of life before, during and after treatment with either the combination of Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), interferon and ribavirin (in the NEUTRINO trial) or the pairing of just Sovaldi and ribavirin (in the FUSION trial). They presented their findings at the 49th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in London.

At the outset of the studies, the level of depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue were similar between the two groups. By the end of treatment, when compared with those who did not take interferon, those who did reported experiencing more fatigue, worse work productivity, greater activity impairment and a greater loss of well-being and functional well-being.

After weighing various factors, the researchers found that depression and fatigue predicted a worse quality of life at the outset of the study. At the end of treatment, interferon, depression, fatigue and being female predicted worse quality of life. By week 12 after treatment, depression, anxiety, fatigue and cirrhosis predicted worse quality of life. And for those who achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure), fatigue and cirrhosis predicted a worse quality of life.

Overall, the researchers found that fatigue and depression led to the greatest drag on quality of life. Interferon joined these variables during treatment with the drug.

To read the study overview, click here.