School of Nursing, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; Department of Nursing, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan.
Interferon (IFN) is able to induce significant psychiatric side effects in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, whereas the risk of nonpsychotic mental disorder (NPMD) development in antiviral-treated mentally healthy CHC patients remains obscure. We used a population-based study to assess the risk of NPMD development in patients who had undergone antiviral treatment compared with untreated chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients.
Data were retrieved from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database cohort consisting of 1 million individuals for a longitudinal analysis. A total of 313 mentally healthy CHC patients who received IFN-based antiviral therapy were recruited and compared with those without antiviral therapy and NAFLD patients. The Chi-square test was used to obtain the hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval.
Among the 313 CHC patients receiving pegylated interferon/ribavirin therapy, 62 patients (19.8%) were associated with NPMD. In the comparison cohort, composed of 313 age- and gender-matched CHC patients not receiving antiviral therapy, 70 patients (22.4%) were associated with NPMD. The Chi-square analysis revealed that antiviral therapy was not significantly associated with NPMD. The diagnosis of HCV-infected hepatitis was independently associated with NPMD when compared with NAFLD. The hazard ratio was 1.67 (95% confidence interval, 1.11-2.52; p = 0.018). Furthermore, generalized anxiety disorder was specifically higher in HCV-infected patients than those with NAFLD.
Patients with HCV infection are at high risk of developing NPMD with or without IFN-based therapy.