April 17, 2012

Bipolar patients can safely and successfully receive interferon-based hepatitis C antiviral treatment

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Apr 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Kelly EM, Corace K, Emery J, Cooper CL.

Department of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases Viral Hepatitis Program, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

AIM: Patients with bipolar disease are often not considered for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antiviral treatment and are excluded from clinical trials because of the risk of interferon-induced exacerbation of their underlying mood disorder. As this risk has not been well quantified in bipolar patients, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of HCV treatment in this population.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of HCV patients evaluated at The Ottawa Hospital between January 2000 and February 2008 (n=910) was carried out. Information on demographics, psychiatric history and treatment, baseline liver biopsy and blood work, treatment initiation, adherence, and therapeutic outcomes was collected. This was compared between bipolar patients (B), those with a history of depression (D), and those with no mental health disorders (N).

RESULTS: Of 38 bipolar patients (4.2%), 16 (42.1%) initiated HCV treatment, a rate similar to that in patients with a history of depression (41.4%) and in those without psychiatric illness (32.6%). On-treatment psychiatric complications were comparable between the bipolar and depression groups (B=68.8%, D=54.8%; P=0.29) and were higher than in those without psychiatric illness (N=37.1%; P=0.01). Manic episodes were rare. [B=2 (12.5%), D=1 (0.9%), N=1 (0.7%)]. Interferon dose reduction or discontinuation rates for psychiatric complications (B=12.5%, D=7.9%, N=7.4%; P=NS), completion rates (B=50%, D=69%, N=58%), and sustained virologic response rates (genotype 1: B=33%, D=45%, N=49%) were similar between the groups.

CONCLUSION: Stable bipolar patients have similar rates of on-treatment psychiatric complications as patients with a history of depression. With pharmacologic intervention and close clinical monitoring, well-selected bipolar patients can successfully complete treatment and achieve outcomes comparable to those in nonbipolar patients.


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