Volpato S, Montagnese S, Zanetto A, Turco M, De Rui M, Ferrarese A, Amodio P, Germani G, Senzolo M, Gambato M, Russo FP, Burra P.
BMJ open gastroenterology 2017
BACKGROUND:Since direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have been approved for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a small series of patients with new-onset neuropsychiatric alterations have been referred to us. We therefore set out to study neuropsychiatricfunction in relation to DAAs prospectively.
METHODS:Ten patients with cirrhosis and 12 post-liver transplant (post-LT) patients were enrolled. All underwent wake electroencephalography (EEG) and a neuropsychological evaluation (paper and pencil battery, simple/choice reaction times, working memory task) at baseline, at the end of treatment with DAAs and after 6 months. At the same time points, full blood count, liver/kidney function tests, quantitative HCV RNA, ammonia and immunosuppressant drug levels were obtained, as appropriate.
RESULTS:Patients with cirrhosis were significantly older than post-LT patients (65±12 vs 55±7 years; P<0.05). Neuropsychological performance and wake EEG were comparable in the two groups at baseline. At the end of a course of treatment with DAAs, a significant slowing in choice reaction times and in the EEG (increased relative delta power) was observed in patients with cirrhosis, which resolved after 6 months. In contrast, no significant changes over time were observed in the neuropsychiatric performance of post-LT patients. No significant associations were observed between neuropsychiatric performance and stand-alone/combined laboratory variables.
CONCLUSION:Some degree of neuropsychiatric impairment was observed in relation to treatment with DAAs in patients with cirrhosis, but not in post-LT patients, suggesting that the former may be sensitive to mild DAA neurotoxicity