Viral Hepatitis and Psychiatric Disorders in Adults, Youths

hepatitis c virus
hepatitis c virus
Hepatitis viruses are associated with a higher risk for psychiatric conditions in both adults and children.

Hepatitis viruses are linked with psychiatric conditions in both adults and children, according to study data presented at The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ The Liver Meeting 2019, held November 8 to 12 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Infection with Hepatitis B (HBV) and/or hepatitis C (HCV) have previously been linked to the development of neuropsychiatric events. Therefore, Kesar and colleagues identified 1049 eligible inpatients aged 18 to 90 years at the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Inpatient Psychiatry Unit in Virginia. The facility has a high number of patients (>75%) with a primary or secondary diagnosis of substance use disorder, which has been established a significant risk factor HCV. 1 Results demonstrated that via the use of clinician and patient education tools, 84% of the cohort received HCV screening.

In a subgroup analysis, the researchers compared 216 patients in the study cohort who were of the baby boomer generation with age-matched patients in the hospital’s clinic and found positive antibodies in 103 patients (12%) vs 2.5%. When screening was verified by reflex viral load, 8% and 2% of patients, respectively, were confirmed cases of HCV. However, the internal medicine clinic had much better success at treatment linkage (21% vs 70%).1

Although HBV and HCV have been associated with increased risk of neuropsychiatric events in adults, there is less known about these viruses and pediatric mental health. Therefore, Telep and colleagues reviewed data for patients aged <18 years with HBV (n=4189) or HCV (n=2770) mono-infection and compared them with an uninfected cohort (n=290,444).2 Follow-up was initiated after continuous insurance enrollment of at least 1 year.

Related Articles

HCV was associated with 3.7-fold increased risk for neuropsychiatric events (95% CI, 3.40-4.03); similar results were found for the development of anxiety, insomnia, and depression. HBV was associated with a 1.6-fold increased risk (95% CI, 1.50-1.80). Among both cohorts (HBV and HCV mono-infection), the greatest risk was observed in patients aged 12 to 17 years. The researchers noted that the study was limited by the reliance on data from commercially insured, noninstitutionalized patients.2


1. Kesar V, Kablinger A, Rubio M. Impact of a hepatitis C screening program at a psychiatry inpatient unit. Presented at: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Abstract 539

2. Telep L, Schwarz K, Rosenthal P, et al. Risk of psychiatric events in hepatitis B- and hepatitis C-infected pediatric patients: a US administrative claims analysis. Presented at: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Abstract 749.