Objective: Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) is an important treatment modality for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, treatment with IFN-α is often associated with cognitive difficulties in HCV patients. Thus, this systematic review was performed to assess the effects of IFN-α on cognitive functioning in patients suffering from HCV.
Methods: Relevant literature was identified by performing a comprehensive literature search in major databases including PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov, and Cochrane Central using a combination of suitable keywords. We retrieved studies that were published from the start of each database until August 2021.
Results: Out of 210 articles, 73 studies were selected after removing the duplicates. In the first pass, 60 articles were excluded. Out of 13 full-text articles, only 5 articles qualified for qualitative analyses in the second pass. We observed conflicting results concerned with the use of IFN-α and the risk of neurocognitive impairment in HCV patients.
Conclusion: In conclusion, we have observed conflicting results regarding the impact of INF-α treatment on the cognitive functioning of patients suffering from HCV. Thus, there is an urgent need for an extensive study to evaluate the exact association between INF-αtherapy and cognitive functioning in HCV patients.
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