A longitudinal study evaluating the effects of interferon-alpha therapy on cognitive and psychiatric function in adults with chronic hepatitis C

Marilyn Huckans, Bret Fuller, Viva Wheaton, Sarah Jaehnert, Carilyn Ellis, Michael Kolessar, Daniel Kriz, Jeanne Renee Anderson, Kristin Berggren, Hannah Olavarria, Anna W. Sasaki, Michael Chang, Kenneth D. Flora, Jennifer M. Loftis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To prospectively evaluate for changes in objective cognitive performance (attention, memory, and executive function) and psychiatric symptom severity (depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain) in patients before, during and after interferon-alpha based therapy (IFN) for chronic hepatitis C virus infection (HCV). Methods: 33 HCV. + adults were evaluated two months before IFN initiation (baseline), three months into IFN, and six months following IFN termination (IFN. + Group). 31 HCV. + adults who did not undergo IFN therapy were evaluated at baseline and six months later (IFN. - Group). At each evaluation, participants completed the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB) Attention, Memory and Executive Functions Modules, the Beck Depression Inventory, Second Edition (BDI), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Inventory (GADI), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), and Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). Results: Compared with the IFN. - Group, the IFN. + Group experienced significantly (p. <. 0.050) increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and pain during IFN therapy relative to baseline. In the IFN. + Group, psychiatric symptoms generally returned to baseline levels following IFN termination. Sustained viral response was associated with significantly lower depression and fatigue. No significant changes in cognitive performance were observed. Conclusions: During IFN, patients with HCV evidence significantly increased psychiatric symptoms, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and pain. These psychiatric symptoms are generally short-term and remit following IFN termination, with increased benefit if viral clearance is achieved. However, IFN is not associated with significant declines in objective cognitive performance during or following IFN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume78
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hepatitis c
  • Interferon
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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