The influence of antiviral therapy on psychiatric symptoms among patients with hepatitis C and schizophrenia

Marilyn Huckans, Alex Mitchell, Shital Pavawalla, Benjamin J. Morasco, Samantha Ruimy, Jennifer M. Loftis, Muhamad A. Rifai, Peter Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Background: Antiviral therapy for chronic infection with HCV is associated with significant neuropsychiatric side effects. Research indicates that patients with mental illness are less likely to receive antiviral therapy, despite limited data regarding the influence of antiviral therapy on psychiatric symptoms in patients with specific psychiatric disorders. The aim of this study was to determine whether antiviral therapy is associated with higher rates of psychiatric symptoms in patients with schizophrenia (SCHZ). Methods: A regional Veterans Healthcare Administration database was used to identify veterans meeting criteria for this retrospective chart review. Patients confirmed to have SCHZ and to have received antiviral therapy for HCV between 1998 and 2006 (n=30) were compared with a control group of demographically matched (age, race and gender) patients with SCHZ who did not receive antiviral therapy (n=30). Clinicians blinded to antiviral therapy status used chart notes to evaluate whether patients exhibited prominent symptoms of SCHZ, depression or mania during a 6 month pre-treatment period, the treatment period and a 6 month post-treatment period (or during equivalent periods for the control group). Results: Groups did not significantly differ in rates of symptoms of SCHZ, depression or mania during any study period. During the treatment period, groups did not significantly differ in rates of emergency room visits or inpatient hospitalizations. Conclusions: Our retrospective chart review suggests that patients with SCHZ experience similar rates of psychiatric symptoms on and off antiviral therapy. Despite limitations and constraints of the methods, our data suggest that SCHZ is not a contraindication to antiviral therapy for HCV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalAntiviral Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 19 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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