The Role of HCV Infection on Neurocognitive Outcomes in Persons Receiving Opioid Agonist Treatment

James Pat Olsen, Fordham University


The primary aim of the present study was to examine the impact of hepatitis C (HCV) in on neurocognitive functioning, fatigue, depression, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) beginning opioid agonist treatment (OAT). We also explored the relationships between OUD-related factors (i.e., OAT treatment, OAT dosage) and these outcomes. Our goal was to shed light on important factors that should be targeted to improve treatment outcomes among HCV-infected persons entering OAT. To address this aim, we compared HCV-infected and HCV-uninfected persons with OUD entering OAT on objective and well-validated measures of neurocognitive functioning, fatigue, depression, HRQoL, OAT treatment, and OAT dose. Overall, we found that HCV-infected persons demonstrated worse learning/memory performance compared to their HCV-uninfected counterparts. Additionally, whereas most persons in this sample reported high fatigue and depression, and relatedly low HRQoL, HCV-infected persons reported significantly higher symptoms across these areas. HCV status, fatigue, and depression were significantly related to neurocognitive functioning in a combind model. Fatigue and depression were also significantly associated with HRQoL. The results of the present study illustrate that HCV-infected persons may be at risk for worse neurocognitive and psychosocial outcomes. These results can serve to inform tailored interventions for this population (e.g., cognitive remediation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy). Ultimately, the present study contributes to the general literature on the negative impact of HCV infection on various neurocognitive and psychosocial outcomes in medical and psychiatric populations, and, more specifically, it addresses an important gap in the current understanding of the impact of HCV infection among persons with current OUD entering OAT.

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Recommended Citation

Olsen, James Pat, "The Role of HCV Infection on Neurocognitive Outcomes in Persons Receiving Opioid Agonist Treatment" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28259136.