three or more cups of coffee a day reduced the incidence of
self-reported side-effects by more than 80% compared to non-coffee
drinkers in people co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV who were
taking hepatitis C treatment, a French study has found.
adds to evidence that coffee could be a useful and cheap 'supplement'
for people taking hepatitis C treatment and could considerably
increase the rate of treatment success. A
study published in June (Freedman) found that in patients with
hepatitis C and not HIV, drinking three or more cups of coffee a day
increased the likelihood of treatment success by 80%.
ANRS CO13 study is a cohort study of hepatitis C/HIV co-infected
patients taking pegylated interferon/ribavirin hepatitis C therapy.
For the present study, 106 patients were evaluated.
were asked whether they drank coffee and, if so, whether they drank it
occasionally or had one, two or three or more cups of coffee a day.
They were also asked to report on whether they had experienced a list
of 30 different symptoms that have been reported as side-effects of
hepatitis treatment and to rate the degree of distress they caused.
(71%) of the patients were men, their average age was 44 and 80% had
been infected with both hepatitis C and HIV through injecting drugs.
start of the study 86% of the patients were taking HIV treatment and
had an undetectable HIV viral load, although 13% had a CD4 count
below 200 cells/mm3.
More than half (52%) of patients had severe liver
fibrosis or cirrhosis (fibrosis grades 3-4).
number of self-reported treatment side-effects at baseline was three; 31%
reported no side-effects and 25% reported over eight.
drinking three or more cups of coffee a day were 81% less likely to
report discomforting side-effects than people reporting none. The
likelihood of reporting side-effects decreased by one-third (33%)
between each category of coffee consumption (i.e. occasional drinkers
had 33% fewer side-effects than non-drinkers, patients drinking one
cup a day had 33% fewer than occasional drinkers, and so on).
adjusting for gender, age and history of opioid use, which are known
correlates of reporting a higher number of discomforting
side-effects, the effect of coffee remained significant (36% decrease
per increase in number of cups drunk).
researchers comment that the effects seen could be due to caffeine
combating the fatigue and lack of concentration and alertness often
reported by patients receiving hepatitis C treatment. However It is already
known that drinking large amounts of coffee is associated with lower
levels of liver enzymes and slower progression of pre-existing liver
disease, and previous studies have reported no benefit in drinking
tea, which also contains caffeine, albeit at lower levels. The researchers
suggest further research into the benefits of coffee consumption