Depression, fatigue, cognitive disturbances: For many people living with chronic hepatitis C, the disease as well as its treatment takes a heavy toll on mental health and well-being. While this is well known among hepatologists and patient groups, there were no specific recommendations or guidelines to tackle this problem until now.
Therefore, European Liver Patients Association (ELPA) invited leading psychologists, psychiatrists and hepatologists to an expert conference in 2011. Martin Schaefer MD and his colleagues reviewed the scientific data and discussed their experience in the treatment of hepatitis C related psychiatric problems. The results were first presented at the EASL conference in Berlin in 2011. Since the conference, the recommendations were refined and updated further to include the new antiviral treatments, and will soon be published as a “European Expert Consensus Statement“ in the Journal of Hepatology.
As Martin Schaefer and colleagues state in their summary: “The paper results from the output of the 2011 EASL meeting and subsequent dialogue with patient groups and relevant experts in Europe […] The summarized current knowledge about mental health changes before and during antiviral treatment should improve interdisciplinary management of HCV infected patients“.
ELPA are proud to have initiated and supported these expert recommendations. We hope they will contribute to improving the care, treatment and quality-of-life for many hepatitis C patients suffering from mental health problems.