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Observations placeholder

Psychosis associated with interferon alfa therapy for chronic hepatitis B



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Mar;37(3):384-7.

Psychosis associated with interferon alfa therapy for chronic hepatitis B.

Tamam L1, Yerdelen D, Ozpoyraz N.

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey. Ltamam@yahoo.com


OBJECTIVE:  To report a case of persistent psychosis that developed during interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) therapy for chronic hepatitis B.

CASE SUMMARY:  A 26-year-old man who was diagnosed with active chronic hepatitis B began treatment with IFN-alpha. Five months after initiation of therapy, he developed acute psychosis with prominent persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. Despite discontinuation of IFN-alpha therapy and addition of antipsychotic drug treatment, only partial recovery from psychosis was observed after 4 months of hospitalization.

DISCUSSION:  Unlike many previously reported cases, this patient showed only partial recovery from psychosis, despite the discontinuation of IFN therapy. Except for receiving a relatively high dose of IFN-alpha (10 million units 3 times/wk), the patient did not have any previously proposed risk factors for developing psychiatric adverse effects. The Naranjo probability scale indicates a probable relationship between the acute psychosis and IFN therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:  Despite its rare occurrence, psychosis can emerge during IFN-alpha therapy. This adverse effect may persist for several months, even after appropriate medical management. IFN-alpha should be used with careful monitoring of patients' psychiatric status during all stages of therapy.

PMID: 12639168

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