Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Sep 8, 2015; 7(19): 2209-2213
Published online Sep 8, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i19.2209
Psychosocial assessment and monitoring in the new era of non-interferon-alpha hepatitis C virus treatments
Paul J Rowan, Nizar Bhulani
Paul J Rowan, Nizar Bhulani, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030, United States
Author contributions: Rowan PJ conceived the study plan, identified data sources, analyzed data, drafted the manuscript, and approved the final version; Bhulani N sought and identified relevant data for analysis per plan, contributed to analysis of data, contributed to drafting the manuscript, and approved the final version.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Paul J Rowan, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, University of Texas School of Public Health, 1200 Herman Pressler E303, Houston, TX 77030, United States.
Telephone: +1-713-5009183 Fax: +1-713-5009171
Received: June 30, 2015
Peer-review started: July 5, 2015
First decision: July 31, 2015
Revised: August 7, 2015
Accepted: August 30, 2015
Article in press: August 31, 2015
Published online: September 8, 2015

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global concern. With the 2014 Food and Drug Administration approvals of two direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens, ledipasvir/sofosbuvir regimen and the ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir regimen, we may now be in the era of all-pill regimens for HCV. Until this development, interferon-alpha along with Ribavirin has remained part of the standard of care for HCV patients. That regimen necessitates psychosocial assessment of factors affecting treatment eligibility, including interferon-alpha-related depressive symptoms, confounding psychiatric conditions, and social aspects such as homelessness affecting treatment eligibility. These factors have delayed as much as 70% of otherwise eligible candidates from interferon-based treatment, and have required treating physicians to monitor psychiatric as well as medical side effects throughout treatment. All-pill DAA regimens with the efficaciousness that would preclude reliance upon interferon-alpha or ribavirin have been anticipated for years. Efficacy studies for these recently approved DAA regimens provide evidence to assess the degree that psychosocial assessment and monitoring will be required. With shorter treatment timelines, greatly reduced side effect profiles, and easier regimens, psychosocial contraindications are greatly reduced. However, current or recent psychiatric comorbidity, and drug-drug interactions with psychiatric drugs, will require some level of clinical attention. Evidence from these efficacy studies tentatively demonstrate that the era of needing significant psychosocial assessment and monitoring may be at an end, as long as a manageable handful of clinical issues are managed.

Keywords: Depression, Therapy, Psychiatry, Clinical, Direct-acting antivirals

Core tip: The recently Food and Drug Administration approved direct-acting antiviral regimens for hepatitis C virus (HCV), ledipasvir/sofosbuvir regimen and the ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir regimen, have demonstrated great efficacy, and thus far seem to have short treatment timelines and relatively benign side effect profiles. Depression has not emerged as a side effect of these treatments. With efficacious regimens that include no interferon-alpha and no ribavirin, there may no longer be a need for strong psychosocial assessment and monitoring built into the routine of HCV treatment. Good history-taking, strong pharmaceutical review, and reliable consultative relationships should be adequate for meeting psychosocial needs in HCV treatment.