Provided by Healio
June 20, 2013
Having a pretreatment liver biopsy did not predict whether patients completed a full treatment course for hepatitis C, researchers reported. In subsequent analyses, the presence of a psychiatric disorder also did not affect treatment completion.
Using a computerized patient record system, researchers examined the effect of having liver biopsy and the presence of psychiatric disorders on the the treatment response and completion rates among 375 HCV-infected veterans who were being treated at the VA Philadelphia Medical Center. Treatment, which began within 1 year of the biopsy, included combination pegylated interferon plus ribavirin for 24 weeks for HCV genotypes 2 and 3, or 48 weeks for HCV genotypes 1 and 4.
Sustained virological response was achieved in 31% of patients, and 45% completed the full treatment course.
The researchers hypothesized that having an invasive procedure such as a liver biopsy would make patients more aware of their disease and “psychologically” motivate them to complete the extensive HCV treatment. Additionally, HCV treatment has been associated with psychiatric adverse effects — including anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder — which also may lead to treatment discontinuation.
However, of the patients who received a liver biopsy, 44% completed treatment vs. 46% of those with no biopsy.
Although biopsy status had no effect on treatment completion, the researchers said having a biopsy may be associated with treatment uptake. For example, the biopsy rate among the cohort was 23% vs. the biopsy rate among those at the VA center who were untreated (3.8%).
Psychiatric disorders, which were based on ICD-9 codes, progress notes and prescription records, were common in the cohort (59.7% having at least one disorder), but did not significantly alter the treatment course.
The most common reasons for discontinuation among those with psychiatric disorders were medication-related adverse effects, virological failure and loss to follow-up.
“Interestingly, our study showed that the rates of HCV therapy discontinuation due to psychiatric-related adverse drug effects were similar between patients with a mental health disorder at baseline and with no mental health disorder at baseline,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.