Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 165-171

Comparison of the prevalence of psychiatric co-morbidities in hepatitis C patients and hepatitis B patients in Saudi Arabia

Department of Psychiatry, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Yaser R AlHuthail
Department of Psychiatry, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.114514

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Background/Aim: Hepatitis C is a major health concern world-wide and is frequently associated with psychiatric co-morbidity. The most common genotype in Saudi Arabia differs from genotypes prevalent elsewhere and thus we aimed to determine if psychiatric disturbances occur in Saudi patients infected with hepatitis C and whether these symptoms extend to those infected with hepatitis B. Materials and Methods: Data were collected from hepatitis C and hepatitis B patients using the general health questionnaire (GHQ-28) and The Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) questionnaires. Tinnitus patients served as control subjects. The Chi-square test was used to examine the relationship between categorical variables. Continuous variables were compared using the Student's t-test or the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test for skewed data, and correlations were evaluated by calculating Spearman's rho. The odds ratio was used to determine the association between variables and the likelihood of being a psychiatric case. Results: Hepatitis C patients were twice as likely to be labeled as a psychiatric case compared with hepatitis B patients ( P = 0.01). Age and gender were not predictive factors though there was a non-significant tendency toward a higher prevalence of psychiatric cases among females. Hepatitis C patients also scored lower than hepatitis B patients in 3 domains of the SF-36 questionnaire, indicating a greater reduction in quality of life (QoL). Conclusion: We demonstrate an increased incidence of psychiatric symptoms in Saudi Arabian hepatitis C patients compared to hepatitis B patients and controls. This highlights the importance of collaboration between hepatologists and psychiatrists in order to improve the QoL in this patient group.

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