New direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C treatment and neuropsychiatric symptoms in psychiatric risk groups



The new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have changed chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment perspectives by achieving success rates in all genotypes and by reducing the associated adverse effects in comparison to pegylated interferon α regimens. These adverse effects include depression, insomnia and suicidal intention, which make it difficult to treat psychiatric risk groups. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the neuropsychiatric symptoms during HCV treatment with DAAs in standard multidisciplinary clinical practice in psychiatric risk groups and to assess the risk factors associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms in this study population.


A prospective cross-sectional study was performed of all consecutive patients with psychiatric risk and HCV infection who completed treatment with the new DAAs at the ambulatory care pharmacy. We recorded demographic and clinical data, neuropsychiatric symptoms, emergency consultations, admissions to the psychiatric unit and interventions to manage neuropsychiatric symptoms. Statistical analysis was used to assess the association between neuropsychiatric symptoms and clinical data.


We included 48 patients with psychiatric risk and detected 36 neuropsychiatric symptoms in 17 (35.4%) patients, with a mean of 0.75 neuropsychiatric symptoms per patient. However, no studied risk factors for developing neuropsychiatric symptoms were found in this population.


We found a moderate prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in the psychiatric risk group. The neuropsychiatric symptoms more frequently reported were insomnia (17%), irritability (15%) and depression (13%). Neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with psychiatric risk can occur during treatment with DAAs but less frequently than with pegylated interferon α regimens, and so is a safe treatment for these patients.