Spotlight Series on Hepatitis C

Men's Sex Lives May Suffer on Hepatitis C Therapy

September 22, 2009

All three components of sexual health -- desire, function, and satisfaction -- may be negatively impacted for men taking standard therapy for chronic hepatitis C, new research shows.

"Men planning to receive peginterferon and ribavirin should be counseled about the possibility of a decline in sexual health during treatment and receive adequate support if these side effects occur," according to lead author Dr. Lorna M. Dove of New York Presbyterian Medical Center and colleagues.

The subjects of the current study were 260 men taking the combination treatment for chronic hepatitis C. They completed self-administered questionnaires before, during, and after treatment.

Before initiating therapy, 37 percent reported "at least some degree" of sex drive impairment; 26 percent reported erectile dysfunction; 22 percent reported impairment in ejaculatory function; and 44 percent reported dissatisfaction with their sex life.

When therapy ended, at 24 or 48 weeks, 38-48 percent of the men said their "overall sexual function was worse than before treatment." Caucasian-American men reported more impairment than African-American men.

"By 24 weeks after treatment, sexual desire and satisfaction improved and were comparable to baseline levels," the authors wrote. "However, among men who received 48 weeks of therapy, the estimated percentage of men reporting post-treatment erectile or ejaculatory problems remained higher than baseline, although persistent erectile impairment was limited to Caucasian-American patients."

"Sexual impairment is common among men with chronic hepatitis C undergoing therapy with pegylated interferon and ribarvirin and should be considered as a potential side effect of antiviral therapy," the authors concluded.

The report, "Decline in Male Sexual Desire, Function and Satisfaction During and After Antiviral Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C," was published in Gastroenterology (2009;137(3):873-884).

Back to other news for September 2009

Adapted from:
ABC News
09.16.09; Reuters Health

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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