Liver International, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Background & Aims: Infection with the hepatitis D virus (HDV) causes the most severe form of viral hepatitis with a high risk to develop clinical complications of liver disease. In addition, hepatitis delta has been shown to be associated with worse patient-reported outcomes. Until recently, only pegylated interferon alfa could be used to treat hepatitis delta. Methods: Here, we investigated quality of life (QOL) as assessed by the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) in patients undergoing antiviral therapy with pegylated interferon alfa (PEG-IFNa-2a)-based treatment in the HIDIT-II trial. HIDIT-II was a randomized prospective trial exploring PEG-IFNa-2a with tenofovir disoproxil (TDF) or placebo for 96 weeks in patients with compensated hepatitis delta. Surveys completed by 83 study participants before, during, and after treatments were available. Results: Overall, we observed a reduced QOL of HDV patients compared with a reference population, both in physical as well as mental scores. Interestingly, PEG-IFNa-2a treatment showed only minor impairment of the QOL during therapy. Moreover, HDV-RNA clearance was not associated with relevant changes in physical or social SF-36 scores, whereas an improvement of fibrosis during treatment was associated with increased QOL. Overall, slight improvements of the QOL scores were observed 24 weeks after the end of treatment as compared with baseline. TDF co-treatment had no influence on QOL. Conclusions: Overall, our findings suggest that PEG-IFNa-2a was reasonably tolerated even over a period of 96 weeks by hepatitis D patients reporting SF-36 questionnaires. Of note, several patients may benefit from PEG-IFNa-2a-based therapies with off-treatment improvements in quality of life.