Hepatitis C Treatment Completion in Individuals With Psychiatric Comorbidity and Depression


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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus is a common bloodborne pathogen. Patient, provider, and health care system factors combine to constrain access to treatment and have led to low rates of treatment initiation and continuation among medically eligible individuals. Behavioral health comorbidity, which is common in the patient population, has historically been an exclusion criterion and is one such barrier to care. We implemented an interdisciplinary nurse-managed primary care–based hepatitis C evaluation and treatment program to address behavioral health needs concurrently in an effort to increase treatment initiation and continuation rates among comorbid individuals. We found no association between having a psychiatric or substance use history and treatment discontinuation in our patient cohort. Likewise, there was no association in our cohort between becoming depressed or anxious while undergoing treatment and treatment discontinuation. The results of our study concur with others that have shown that addressing behavioral health comorbidities concurrently with hepatitis C evaluation and treatment may improve treatment continuation rates among comorbid patients, thereby helping to remove barriers to treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

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