American Gastroenterological Association LogoThis news may be a cause of concern for hepatitis C patients. A new study from AGA claims that sexual impairment may be prevalent among men with chronic hepatitis C who are going through antiviral therapy.

Sexual dysfunction has apparently been identified as a side effect for the first time where the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) study has supposedly assessed the combination therapy, peginterferon and ribavirin. Sexual dysfunction and impairment of desire were apparently noted to be the general side effects of combination antiviral therapy in men with hepatitis C. It may have the potential to influence all three components of sexual health which are mainly desire, function and satisfaction reveal the experts associated with the study.

Before therapy, approximately 37 percent of the men apparently accounted for some extent of impairment in sexual desire, whereas about 44 percent were supposedly dissatisfied with their sexual life. Adding to this, roughly 22 percent accounted for impairment in erectile and about 26 percent in the area of ejaculatory function. Sexual dysfunction apparently began within 4 weeks of starting antiviral therapy and many patients reported that gradually with time, this condition worsened. At the end of the therapy which usually lasts for around 24 or 48 weeks, an approximate 38 to 48 percent of people stated that their sexual function was apparently shoddier than it was before the treatment.

During therapy, it was seen that Caucasian Americans accounted for more impairment in sexual desire and satisfaction than African Americans. For men who received the entire 48 weeks of treatment, the erectile and ejaculatory function supposedly remained slightly worse than before treatment. This was even when most components of sexual health assessed in this study were apparently resolved within 6 months after the cessation of the therapy.

Roughly 260 men treated with peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin finished the self-administered questionnaires which apparently concerns sexual desire, sexual function and incorporates erectile and ejaculatory function and sexual satisfaction before, during and after the treatment. This is as per this new study dubbed as the Viral Resistance to Antiviral Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C (VIRAHEP-C).

About 1 to 2 percent of the American population is apparently affected by chronic hepatitis C. African Americans may be affected by hepatitis C more than Caucasian Americans and other racial and ethnic groups in the US. While therapies for hepatitis C are developing, currently they are effective only partially.

Even though sexual function and health are significantly vital elements which contribute to the overall quality of life and well-being, they are apparently not talked about frequently in the discussion of complications of therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin. Most review articles on hepatitis C treatment, summary publications on the side effects of therapy and the package inserts for peginterferon supposedly do not bring up sexual dysfunction as a possible complication of therapy.

This study was published in the journal Gastroenterology.