Drugs for Hepatitis C may reduce symptoms of PTSD

Drugs for Hepatitis C may reduce symptoms of PTSD


Many people in Boston are affected by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This potentially chronic illness disrupts people’s lives, which raises the risk of developing new health issues or exacerbating already existing ones like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts.

Even though PTSD frequently occurs, only two drugs, sertraline, and paroxetine have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat it. Both have shown modest efficacy in reducing PTSD symptoms.

Military veterans frequently experience PTSD symptoms, as do more than 10% of US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients. Two years ago, researchers at the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont and the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) began investigating whether the symptoms of PTSD could be lessened by the currently available medications with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health.

During an initial exploratory analysis among a national cohort of VA patients, the researchers unexpectedly found that several novel direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs used to treat hepatitis C virus infection were associated with a decrease in PTSD symptoms. The Biological Psychiatry journal published the findings.

In a new follow-up study, the researchers have now evaluated and contrasted the effectiveness of the previously recognized DAAs in the reduction of PTSD symptoms.

According to their most recent findings, a potential Treatment for PTSD in people who do not have hepatitis C virus infection is the most promising DAA for future research.

According to a recent study published online, ahead of print in the American Journal of Epidemiology, pibrentasvir and glecaprevir were the DAAs most frequently prescribed in the VA. The strongest correlation between improving PTSD symptoms and this medication combination was found.

According to Jaimie Gradus, associate professor of epidemiology at BUSPH and the study’s senior author, “many people have PTSD, but there are few effective pharmacologic therapies and limited pharmacological development for PTSD.” Most of the effective treatments currently on the market are psychotherapeutic, and while they are effective, they also have drawbacks like high rates of Treatment drop-out and time commitment. Therefore, it is crucial to increase the variety of Treatment options available to people.

The researchers evaluated the identical national cohort of VA patients from the earlier study but only included those diagnosed with hepatitis C in their research.

It was discovered that the GLE/PIB medications were more strongly associated with PTSD symptom improvement than the LDV/SOF and SOF/VEL treatments. This discovery supports their earlier findings.

According to Gradus, “at BUSPH, we have been collaborating with our VA colleagues to look at PTSD symptom improvement in routine care using medical data” for some years. “The level of improvement we see for GLE/PIB is remarkable and more than twice as much as what we saw for paroxetine and sertraline,” the study’s authors write. A prospective placebo-controlled study in people who haven’t been exposed to the hepatitis C virus will be a significant next step in this line of investigation.