Volume 44 Number 2 2007
Pages 231 — 244

Abstract - A closer look at pain and hepatitis C: Preliminary data from a veteran population

Amy K. Silberbogen, PhD;1-2* E. Amy Janke, PhD;3 Claire Hebenstreit, BA1

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA; 2Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; 3Edward J. Hines Jr VA Hospital, Hines, IL

Abstract — An association between the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and various pain diagnoses, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and peripheral neuropathy, has been reported. In this article, we review the literature on the relationship between HCV and pain, highlighting current knowledge as well as methodological issues that exist in many studies. We also present preliminary findings from a survey conducted at two Department of Veterans Affairs facilities to assess the scope and impact of pain on functioning in veterans with HCV. Our results indicate that pain is very prevalent within this population and that HCV-positive veterans who experience persistent pain have significant depressive symptoms and engage in high-risk behaviors, such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use. Finally, we draw upon our review and preliminary results to propose areas of future rehabilitative research and to address the implications for clinicians working with patients with comorbid HCV and pain.

Key words: arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, pain, peripheral nervous system diseases, pilot projects, quality of life, rehabilitation, substance abuse.

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