Behavior Due to Bipolar or Hep C Meds?
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Q:  Behavior Due to Bipolar or Hep C Meds?

My mother has bi polar and has Hep C.  She started PEGASYS treatment in December.  So far she has repsonded well to treatment.  The problem is she is in a depressed cycle and has decided the tratment is killing her.  She is very paranoid and erratic.  She seems to be seeking attention by acting sick.  My sister took ker to the ER and she acted very sick but there was nothing physically wrong.  My sister tried to feed her soup at home , but she spit it on the floor.  She then sat the bowl in the floor and allowed her dogs to eat it.  She is refusing to eat and will not care for herself.  My question is this:  IS this behavior coming fron being bipolar or a problem with her HEP c meds?  The doctor who released her is blaming it on side effects from HEP C meds.  She did not see a mental health profesional, so I am stumped.  Should we be persuing her psychiatrist?  I find this very distrubing and not sure what to do next.  Thank you.

Dear Beth -- 
Could definitely be from the Hep C meds, I've seen that myself and it's well know -- so the doc' who ascribed the depression symptoms to Hep C treatment may well be correct.  Of course, at some point it doesn't really matter where it's coming from, it needs to be treated, right?  And the symptoms you describe are far beyond that turning point, surely.  So, her psychiatrist should definitely be brought into the loop, if that hasn't somehow happened already.  It is possible to try to treat the depressive symptoms brought on by Hep C treatment, as Paxil for example has been shown to be effective in that role; however, in someone with bipolar disorder this could be pretty complicated.  You might even hear somebody wonder about using
ECT (electroconvulsive therapy; has a barbaric history, but is the most effective antidepressant treatment out there for many circumstances and is not at all barbaric now in terms of how it's done).  

Dr. Phelps

Published March, 2003


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