Declines in depressive symptoms among people who inject drugs treated with direct-acting antivirals while on opioid agonist therapy

Irene Pericot-Valverde, Moonseong Heo, Jiajing Niu, Brianna L. Norton, Matthew J. Akiyama, Linda Agyemang, Alain H. Litwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) frequently co-occurs with symptoms of depression, which are aggravated on interferon-based regimens. However, it is unknown whether HCV treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has effects on depressive symptoms among people who inject drugs (PWID). In this study, we examined changes in depressive symptoms during and after HCV treatment among PWID on opioid agonist therapies (OATs). Methods. Participants were 141 PWID who achieved sustained viral response after on-site HCV treatment at 3 OAT programs. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory–II (BDI-II) at baseline, every 4 weeks during treatment, and 12 and 24 weeks after treatment completion. Current diagnosis of depression or other psychiatric diagnoses were obtained through chart review. Use of illicit drugs was measured by urine toxicology screening. Alcohol use was measured using the Addiction Severity Index–Lite. Results. Of the 141 PWID infected with HCV, 24.1% had severe, 9.9% had moderate, 15.6% had mild, and 50.4% had minimal levels of depression as per BDI-II scores at baseline. HCV treatment was significantly associated with reductions in depressive symptoms that persisted long term, regardless of symptom severity (P < .001) or presence of depression (P ≤ .01) or other psychiatric diagnoses (P ≤ .01) at baseline. Concurrent drug use (P ≤ .001) or hazardous alcohol drinking (P ≤ .001) did not interfere with reductions in depressive symptoms. Conclusions. Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent among HCV-infected PWID. HCV treatment was associated with sustained reductions in depressive symptoms. HCV therapy with DAAs may have important implications for PWID that go beyond HCV cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • : DAAs
  • Depression
  • HCV
  • Mental health
  • PWID

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology

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