(HealthDay News) – Patients with diabetes have a lower risk of end-stage renal disease, stroke, and acute coronary syndrome after antiviral treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to a study published online in Hepatology.

Noting that HCV infection has been linked to diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance, Yao-Chun Hsu, PhD, from the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues studied 2,822 patients with diabetes mellitus but without serious comorbidities, where half were untreated and half were treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. The treated group was also matched with 5,644 patients with diabetes without HCV infection.

After eight years, the researchers found that the cumulative incidence of end-stage renal disease, ischemic stroke, and acute coronary syndrome varied significantly between groups. Compared with the untreated group, and after adjusting for various factors, the treated group had a significantly lower risk of end-stage renal disease (hazard ratio [HR], 0.16), ischemic stroke (HR, 0.53), and acute coronary syndrome (HR, 0.64).

“Antiviral treatment for HCV infection is associated with improved renal and cardiovascular outcomes in diabetic patients,” Hsu and colleagues conclude.

One author disclosed receiving lecture fees from Merck Sharp & Dohme and Roche.

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