Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 59-67

Neuropsychiatric side-effects of interferon alfa therapy for hepatitis C and their management: A review

Department of Psychiatry,College of Medicine, King Khaled University Hospital King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Yaser R Al-Huthail
Department of Psychiatry College of Medicine, King Khaled University Hospital King Saud University, Riyadh P.O.Box 7805, Riyadh-11472
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.27847

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Background:Interferon-Alfa (IFN-α) has been the mainstay of treatment for chronic hepatitis C. It has the potential to alter the course of chronic hepatitis C and prevent complications. Aims: This review summarizes current knowledge about the presentation, mechanism, course, and treatment of neuropsychiatric problems associated with interferon alfa (IFN-α) treatment. Methods: Studies were identified by computerized searches, and further references were obtained from bibliographies of the reviewed articles. Results: Neuropsychiatric symptoms frequently occur in hepatitis C patients treated with IFNAlfa. These side effects are troublesome and frequently account for dose reduction or treatment discontinuation. Sometimes, they could be serious and possibly life threatening. Frequent psychiatric evaluations of high risk individuals and, when required, early administration of antidepressants could possibly help to avoid the development of an impending depression or reduce its severity and duration and thus increase adherence to treatment. Conclustion: Greater cooperation between psychiatrists and hepatologists would mean less risk of having the serious side effects with more importance needs to be given to the identification of patients at risk.

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