Thirty-nine patients with hepatitis C viral infection on interferon-α (IFN-α) therapy were monitored weekly using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Thirteen of thirty-nine patients (33%) developed IFN-α-induced major depressive disorder (MDD). During the course of IFN-α therapy, patients who became depressed were treated with citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. Results indicated that: (1) IFN-α response rates were significantly higher in those patients who developed IFN-α-induced MDD than in those who did not (end-of-treatment response (ETR) rates: 61.5% versus 26.9% and sustained viral response (SVR) rates: 38.5% versus 11.5%), (2) male patients with ETR to IFN-α therapy were, on average, ∼33 pounds lighter in body weight than male patients who did not respond, and (3) gender, race, past history of MDD, and past history of substance abuse were not significantly associated with ETR. In conclusion, our findings suggest that IFN-α-induced MDD may be a predictor of a positive response to IFN-α therapy, or an indication of optimal dosing.
- Antiviral therapy
- Hepatitis C
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
ASJC Scopus subject areas