1Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Background: A better understanding of links between mental illness and risk of bloodborne infectious disease could inform preventive and therapeutic strategies in individuals with mental illness.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to estimate the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C in individuals with and without a prior prescription for antipsychotic medications, and to determine whether differences in seroprevalence could be explained by differential distribution in known infection risk factors. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the association between receipt of antipsychotic medication and HBV and HCV seropositivity.
Results: Those who had HBV core antibody had 1.64 (95% CI: 0.89, 3.02) times the odds and those with HCV antibody (anti-HCV) had 3.48 (95% CI: 1.71, 7.09) times the odds of having a prescription for at least one antipsychotic medication compared to those who did not have HBV core antibody or HCV antibody, respectively. While prior antipsychotic receipt was a potent risk marker for HCV seropositivity, risk was explained by adjusting for known bloodborne infection risk factors (adjusted ORs 1.01 [95% CI: 0.50, 2.02] and 1.38 [95% CI: 0.44, 4.36] for HBV and HCV, respectively).
Conclusions: Prior receipt of antipsychotic medications is a strong predictor of HCV (and to a lesser extent HBV) seropositivity. Treatment with antipsychotic medications should be considered as additional risk markers for individuals who may benefit from targeted prevention, screening, and harm reduction interventions for HCV.