Anti-Viral Therapy and Decreased Sexual Desire in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis CReportar como inadecuado

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Peg-interferon PegIFNα2a or PegIFNα2b plus ribavirin RBV is the standard therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus HCV infection in Taiwan and Asia. It is commonly associated with adverse effects, but the issue of sexual and mental health is not well reported. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of anti-viral therapy with PegIFNα plus RBV on sexual desire and depression.


This prospective cohort study from 2009 to 2014 enrolled 181 patients with HCV who received PegIFNα2a 180 mcg-week or PegIFNα2b 1.5 mcg-Kg-week plus RBV 800–1200 mg-day according to response-guide therapy for 24 to 48 weeks in a tertiary medical center. Patients with decreased sexual desire DSD before PegIFNα plus RBV were excluded. Patients were evaluated at baseline week 0 and after 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks of PegIFNα plus RBV treatment using the structured Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, for the diagnosis of a major depressive episode, and the 21-item Beck Depression Inventory BDI, for monitoring depressive symptoms. The 21st item of the BDI was used to evaluate DSD.


During therapy, 124 68.5% patients had DSD. The BDI score peaked at 14.8 weeks. The severity of DSD was greatest at 16 weeks of treatment. The average score of the 21st item of the BDI correlated with DSD. Depression history and the prevalence of subsequent major depressive disorder after anti-viral therapy was correlated to DSD p = 0.05 and 0.001. Male patients complained of DSD more significantly than females p = 0.031.


Decreased sexual desire is common but is usually neglected in patients with chronic hepatitis C undergoing anti-viral therapy, especially among male patients. Physicians must be monitoring the side effects of sexual health and depression.

Autor: Po-Jen Hsiao, Po-Fan Hsieh, Eric Chieh-Lung Chou , Hsueh–Chou Lai , Cheng-Yuan Peng, Kuan-Pin Su



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