Higher Rates of Hepatitis C Virus Found in Patients with Lupus

HCV rates 3 times higher in patients with lupus.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may increase the risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV).

In a study published in Immunologic Research, investigators examined the records of 5018 patients with SLE compared with 25,090 age- and gender-matched controls.

The investigators used Chi-square and t tests for univariate analysis, as well as a logistic regression model for multivariant analysis.

The results of the study showed the rate of HCV in patients with SLE was 3 times higher compared with the controls (1.06% versus 0.39%, respectively). Furthermore, participants with SLE aged 40 to 59 years were the most likely to have HCV. The investigators also found a significant association among patients of higher socioencomic status, as well as a connection between HCV and smoking plus alcohol abuse.

In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, SLE was found to be significantly associated with HCV infection (OR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.46-2.09).

Although prior studies have shown a higher rate of HCV infection in patients with SLE, the studies had significantly smaller patient cohorts.

“The size of the latest study was a major strength of the research,” the authors said, as reported by Lupus News Today. “[It] presented the proportion of patients with SLE HCV comorbidity of a very large number of patients with SLE.”

The authors noted that they found the same rates of male predominance among HCV as prior studies.

Overall, the findings indicated that patients with SLE have a greater proportion of chronic HCV infection than matched controls.