In patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), the effects of baseline characteristics, virological profiles, and therapeutic outcome to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (PR) therapy on autoimmune diseases are unknown. Taiwanese Chronic Hepatitis C Cohort is a nationwide hepatitis C virus registry cohort comprising 23 hospitals of Taiwan. A total of 12,770 CHC patients receiving PR therapy for at least 4 weeks between January 2003 and December 2015 were enrolled and their data were linked to the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database for studying the development of 10 autoimmune diseases. The mean follow-up duration was 5.3 ± 2.9 years with a total of 67,930 person-years, and the annual incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was 0.03%. Other autoimmune diseases were not assessable due to few events. Body mass index ≥24 kg/m2 was an independent predictor of the low incidence of SLE or RA (hazard ratio 0.40, 95% confidence interval 0.17–0.93, p = 0.034). A sustained virological response (SVR) to PR therapy was not associated with the low incidence of SLE or RA in any subgroup analysis. CHC patients achieving SVR to PR therapy did not exhibit an impact on the incidence of SLE or RA compared with non-SVR patients.
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