The team determined the prevalence, type, and severity of emotional distress in a large group of consecutive chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients not receiving antiviral therapy.
They reported their results in the March issue of the Journal of Hepatology.
A brief symptom inventory, together with a questionnaire, was used to study 220 outpatients with compensated CHC.
Of the participants, 35% reported significantly elevated global severity index (GSI) T-scores, compared to an expected frequency of 10% in population controls.
In addition, significantly elevated depression, anxiety, somatization, psychoticism, and obsessive-compulsive subscale T-scores were reported in 28-40% of subjects.
Subjects with an active psychiatric co-morbidity had significantly higher GSI and subscale T-scores, compared to subjects with active medical co-morbidities and subjects without medical or psychiatric co-morbidities.
However, patients with CHC alone were also found to have a higher frequency of elevated GSI T-scores compared to population controls (20% versus 10%).
| Broad array of psychological symptoms observed in chronic hepatitis C sufferers.|
|Journal of Hepatology|
Robert J. Fontana, of the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, said on behalf of his colleagues, "Clinically significant emotional distress was reported in 35% of chronic hepatitis C patients not receiving antiviral therapy.
"In addition to depression, a broad array of psychological symptoms was observed."
"Further investigation into the etiopathogenesis and treatment of emotional distress in chronic hepatitis C patients is warranted," he concluded.