[Benefits of a preventive psychiatric accompaniment in patients Hepatitis C Virus seropositive (HCV): prospective study concerning 39 patients].Encephale. 2003 Jul-Aug; 29(4 Pt 1):362-5.E
Hepatitis C represents a major public health challenge due to its chronic evolution and major complications (eg liver tumor and cirrhosis). New treatment strategies (interferon pégylé +/- ribavirine) have recently improved the prognosis except in case of poor compliance. Psychiatric comorbidity, especially affective disorders, is commonly associated with hepatitis C and constitutes the main cause of poor compliance, therapeutic discontinuations and treatment contra-indication. At this moment of new therapeutic protocols and the possibility of curing HCV infections, it is of utmost importance to widen antiviral treatment in many indications, to upgrade compliance, and to limit therapeutic discontinuations. In this context, where anxious and depressive disorders are the main reasons for failure in curing, it is necessary to anticipate the appearance of these troubles within an earlier multidisciplinary taking in charge. The primary aim of our study is to emphasize the utility of a multi-disciplinary approach including psychiatric evaluation, preventive follow-up and preventive treatment. The secondary objective is to show that a previous story of depression or use of drugs should not be considered as an insuperable contra-indication provoding the implementation of a specific follow-up. Thirty nine interferon treated patients were included in a prospective study. Our data confirm the high rate (28%) of Major Depressive Disorders among the population of hepatitis C treated patients in a preventive follow-up. A previous story of alcoholism, of suicide attempt or break off treatment with Major Depressive disorders might be predictive of such a complication. According to the subjective feeling of these patients with previous break'off treatment associated, specific psychiatric follow-up may improve tolerance for the treatment.
METHODS AND OBJECTIVES
39 patients (17 men and 22 women) accepted, on (or after) the non-systematic proposal of their hepatologist, to consult the psychiatrist of the network, prior to any therapeutic decision. The first objectives of the consultations were to inform the patient (and, with his agreement, his -relatives), about the risk of depressive disorders while under treatment by interferon, as well as their potential consequences. Moreover, the psychiatrist answers their questions concerning this issue, and proposes him a long-term psychotherapeutic follow up (up to several months after the antiviral treatment end) including availability in emergency if necessary and preventive antidepressive treatment. In this framework, we assessed in a prospective way the frequency, the intensity and the time (or moments) when major depressive episode (MDE) (according to the DSM IV) appeared under interferon alpha, the predictive factors for these MDE, the interest and the quality of a preventive antidepressive treatment prescription and the psycho-social benefits of this taking in charge for the patient.
Among these 39 patients -regularly followed during and after the antiviral therapy, 11 (28%) had a MDE while under treatment. These MDE, except for 2 (5%) of them which led to an hospitalization, were mild to moderate. They mainly appeared within the 2 first quarters of treatment without significant difference. Patients with antecedents of suicide attempt (80%), drug addiction (50%) or alcohol addiction (50%) are more likely to have a MDE under interferon alpha than other patients, but these risk factors are not a contra-indication for treatment because 95% of the patients ended their treatment and the 2 antiviral treatment discontinuations observed were secon-dary to (or following) an acute psychotic episode (hospitalization) and a maniac episode in a schizophrenic patient (outpatient care). The existence of antecedents of antiviral treatment discontinuations due to MDE (33%) does not seem to be a risk factor anymore when preventive care is provided. It is interesting to point out the existence of a certain male fragility, men are more psychologically sensitive to interferon alpha than women. About 90% of patients chose to take an antidepressant. The latter was mainly a treatment with sertraline (45% out of cases), with citalopram (40% out of cases), and for 15% of them antidepressive treatment previously prescribed and non modified because they were well-tolerated and efficient. 86% of the first prescriptions were not changed during the follow up. 75% of patients already treated by a previous antiviral treatment with interferon alpha estimated that an earlier psychiatric accompaniment was very beneficial for them, in terms of compliance and socio-professional insertion.
A specialized psychiatric accompaniment within a coherent multidisciplinary network provides a major benefit to the patients in terms of compliance and safe care (even for population considered as having higher risks) although it is not possible to define accurately the influence of the preventive prescription of a antidepressant (which is not prejudicial anyway). a previous story of depressive disorder should not be considered as a contra-indication, but should imply a specific psychiatric follow-up especially when alcoholism, previous story of suicidal attempt and previous break'off treatment are reported.