Ibrar Alam, Ijaz Ali, Sajid Ali, Iftikhar Alam, Farzana and Zeeshan Naseem
Changes in body weight in HCV patients on interferon therapy are well established. However, these are not reported extensively in patients from developing societies, where the infection may have different dimensions. Also, most of the previous studies reported changes in body weight only but not in other compartments of body composition, which have numerous clinical implications. We, therefore, prospectively investigated these changes in current study. The study comprised 30 HCV positive patients, recruited from Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) Peshawar, Pakistan. Patients were screened for antibodies against HCV. The positive samples were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis for detection of HCV-RNA and were entered into two groups: one group (‘on therapy’ (n=20) received Interferon (IFN) therapy, while the other group (‘no therapy’ (n=10) did not. Data were collected for weight, height, nutrition and other socio-demographic parameters. Body composition was assessed using bio-electric impedance analysis (BIA) and monitored for the six months of treatment. The major findings of this research study are significant (p ≤ 0.05) reduction in body weight, body fat (BF) and lean body mass (LBM) in HCV patients on interferon-α (IFN-α) therapy. These parameters changed non-significantly (p, trends for all>0.05) in ‘no therapy’ group. The greatest effects of these changes were demonstrated in month 1-4 of treatment. In conclusion, interferon therapy causes significant reduction in compartments of body composition and that these changes may be considered to be used as surrogate indicators for monitoring the treatment efficacy.