Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatric Disorders More Likely in HCV Patients. (Substance Abuse in 88%)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatric Disorders More Likely in HCV Patients. (Substance Abuse in 88%)

Article excerpt

TUCSON, ARIZ. -- Substance abuse/dependence and mood, anxiety, personality, and psychotic disorders were all more prevalent in patients with chronic hepatitis C than in a group of patients without the virus, Dr. Muhamad Aly Rifai reported at the annual meeting of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Anyone with a substance abuse disorder should be screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV), and all patients with HCV should undergo a psychiatric evaluation before they are placed on interferon, which can exacerbate neuropsychiatric disorders, said Dr. Rifai of the University of Virginia and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salem, Va.

"Active psychopathology can interfere with [treatment] compliance, rendering interferon ineffective or precipitating adverse reactions," he said, noting that severe psychiatric disease is a contraindication for interferon therapy.

The current guidance using interferon therapy to treat hepatitis C calls for self-administration of a weekly injection for 12 months, Dr. Rifai said in a phone interview.

Dr. Rifai and his colleagues evaluated the records of 400 randomly selected HCV-positive VA patients and 400 randomly selected control patients who were HCV negative, looking for past and present DSM-IV-defined psychiatric disorders. …

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