AGA Logo A hot brewing cup of coffee seems to be just the right thing for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C. A groundbreaking study claims that drinking coffee improves the treatment response among advanced hepatitis C patients with chronic liver disease. Those subjected to peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment and drinking three or more cups of coffee per day may be two times more likely to respond to treatment than non-drinkers.

In the non-drinkers, 46 percent presumably had an early virologic response and 26 percent had no detectable serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) ribonucleic acid at week 20. Also 22 percent had no detectable serum at week 48 and 11 percent seemingly had a sustained virologic response among those who did not drink the beverage. In contrast, the corresponding proportions for those who drank three or more cups of coffee per day allegedly were 73 percent, 52 percent, 49 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

“Coffee intake has been associated with a lower level of liver enzymes, reduced progression of chronic liver disease and reduced incidence of liver cancer. Although we observed an independent association between coffee intake and virologic response to treatment, this association needs replication in other studies,” quoted Neal Freedman, PhD, MPH, of the National Cancer Institute and lead author of this study.

Around 70 to 80 percent of individuals exposed to HCV supposedly become chronically infected. Authors found that higher coffee consumption is associated with slower progression of pre-existing liver disease and lower risk of liver cancer. However, future studies can be triggered to examine patients with less advanced disease, those who are treatment-naïve to prior therapy or who are being treated with newer antiviral agents.

The study is published in the journal Gastroenterology.