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Keywords:

  • comorbidity;
  • hepatitis C;
  • interferon;
  • psychiatric side effects;
  • retreatment

Abstract

Objective: Evaluate the incidence of mental disorders using pegylated interferon plus ribavirin retreatment in nonresponder hepatitis C virus-infected patients.

Method: The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) was used to evaluate 30 hepatitis C virus-infected interferon-nonresponder patients at baseline and following 4, 12 and 24 weeks of pegylated interferon retreatment.

Results: During the pegylated interferon/ribavirin retreatment, 5(16.6%) patients developed psychiatric side effects: 3(10%) were diagnosed with major depressive disorder, 1(3.3%) had a brief psychotic disorder and 1(3.3%) presented with panic attacks.

Conclusion: This is the first prospective study evaluating the incidence of neuropsychiatric side effects during interferon retreatment of hepatitis C virus-infected patients, suggesting that the risk of acquiring serious psychiatric symptoms during retreatment with interferon-α (IFN-α) may not be higher than during the first antiviral therapy. This finding challenges the hypothesis that during a second treatment with IFN-α, patients with hepatitis C may be at greater risk for neuropsychiatric side effects than naïve patients.