Research in the Rusted Lab includes a study of the potential adverse side effects of hepatitis C treatment in HIV-positive individuals with a concurrent Hepatitis C infection – this is a condition that affects 40% of HIV patients. In these patients, the treatment of the Hepatitis C infection has been associated with depressive symptoms and cognitive impairments both of which negatively impact the quality of life of the patients.
The current standard of care for hepatitis C involves a combination of drugs (interferon and ribavirin) however; the treatment options have changed with the development of new therapies using interferon, ribavirin plus a new drug that have improved HCV cure rates. It is well known that depression is the most prevalent side effect of interferon and ribavirin treatment but little is known about the adverse events in the new treatment.
Renata Fialho a second year PhD student and member of the Rusted Lab is looking at the adverse effects during hepatitis C treatment with classic and new treatment in HIV/HCV patients. According with preliminary results fifty participants were included in the study. We looked at differences on depression between hepatitis C treatments and there was a significant increase in depression in both types of treatments. These results suggest that the prevalence of depression is high still and more research is needed in order to clarify what type of depression and cognitive symptoms are associated with hepatitis C treatment.
For more information about current research by the Rusted lab group, see our lab website