Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University Hospital, Entrance 10, Floor 3B, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden. email@example.com.
Department of Medical Sciences, Section of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University Hospital, Entrance 34, Floor 2, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University Hospital, Entrance 10, Floor 3B, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden.
Treatment of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has evolved from interferon (IFN)-based treatments to direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). Patients with HCV have an elevated psychiatric morbidity (including substance abuse) and patients with such comorbidity have often been excluded from treatment with IFN. To date, little is known about psychiatric adverse effects of DAA-based regimens. We therefore aimed to study the psychiatric side effects of new IFN-free treatment for HCV (including depressive symptoms and sleep) in real world patients also including those with a history of psychiatric diagnosis, substance abuse or drug dependence.
Consecutive patients were monitored during treatment with three of the latest DAA agents (sofosbuvir, simeprevir and daclatasvir). Repeated expert psychiatric assessments from baseline to 12 weeks post-treatment were performed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) clinical version and the self-report versions of the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Friedman's test was performed to calculate differences in the MADRS-S and PSQI over time. In a post-hoc analysis Wilcoxon's test was used to compare baseline depressive symptoms with those at post-treatment. Spearman's rank correlation test was conducted in another post-hoc analysis to evaluate the correlation between symptoms of depression and HCV viral load at baseline.
At baseline, 15/17 patients (88%) had a history of any psychiatric diagnosis; 11 (65%) had a history of substance abuse or dependence; and 11 (65%) had previously been treated with IFN and six of those had experienced psychiatric side effects. There was no correlation between depressive symptoms and HCV viral load at baseline. Symptoms of depression did not increase during DAA treatment and were lower 12 weeks post-treatment compared with baseline: MADRS-S 10.7 vs. 8.3 (p = 0.01). This observation held when excluding patients taking antidepressant medication. Sleep quality did not significantly change during treatment. Adherence to treatment was estimated to 95% and sustained virological response was 88%.
Despite high psychiatric morbidity, including previous substance abuse, patients successfully completed DAA treatment without increasing depressive symptoms or sleep disturbance. Symptoms of depression were significantly reduced 12 weeks after DAA treatment.