Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current knowledge regarding chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection, antiviral therapy, depression, and gender. Design/methodology/approach – CHC and its treatment options were reviewed examining their relationship with depression and gender. Findings – CHC is a high prevalent chronic infection worldwide, being similar in men and women. However, the infection shows many gender differences in terms of innate response, genetic variability (i.e. IL-28B), route of transmission (i.e. intravenous drug use), disease progression (i.e. fibrosis), lifetime period (i.e. pregnancy), and risk factors (i.e. HIV). Both the hepatitis C infection and antiviral treatment (especially when using the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon α), are highly associated with depression, where female gender constitutes a risk factor. It seems that the new direct-acting antiviral combinations produce fewer neuropsychiatric side effects. In fact, the presence of depression at baseline is no longer a limitation for the initiation of antiviral treatment. Antidepressant drugs have been recommended as current depression and prophylactic treatment in risk subgroups. However, caution should be exercised due to the risk of drug-drug interactions with some antiviral drugs. Women should be counselled prenatal, during and after pregnancy, taking into account the clinical situation, and the available evidence of the risks and benefits of antiviral and antidepressant treatments. Multidisciplinary approach shows cost-efficacy results. Originality/value – The paper clarifies the complex management of CHC therapy and the importance of individualizing treatment. The results also underline the need for an integrated multidisciplinary approach.
Advances in Dual Diagnosis – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 16, 2015