Hepatitis C

Could Hep C Raise the Risk of Bipolar Disorder?

Infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be associated with an increased risk of bipolar disorder (BD) diagnosis, according to the results of a recent study.

Previous research has suggested that viral hepatitis could be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson disease, as well as other neurocognitive abnormalities.

For their study, the researchers examined data from 48,215 patients with newly diagnosed viral hepatitis from 2000 to 2010, matching them with 192,860 individuals without hepatitis. The groups were followed until diagnosis with BD, withdrawal from the national health insurance program, or the end of 2011. The participants with viral hepatitis were grouped based on their infection: HBV, HCV, or HBV/HCV coinfection.


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After adjustments for sex, age, and comorbidity, the researchers found that that incidence of BD was higher in patients with HBV/HCV coinfection than in the control groups (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.16). Following further adjustment, they found that age of more than 65 years and female sex could also be associated with an increased risk of BD in patients with chronic hepatitis B or C.

“The findings suggest that HBV/HCV infection may be associated with increased risk of subsequent BD. Additional prospective clinical and basic studies on the relationship between hepatitis and BD are warranted,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Chong L, Hsu C, Lee C, et al. Association of viral hepatitis and bipolar disorder: a nationwide population-based study [published online June 22, 2018]. Journal of Translational Medicine.