Background: Approximately one-third of patients undergoing interferon-α (IFN-α) therapy for treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) develop major depression, which decreases functioning and may lead to the reduction or discontinuation of treatment. Objective: The authors examined the efficacy of citalopram in preventing IFN-α-induced depression in HCV patients. Method: This was a randomized, controlled trial comparing citalopram with placebo in 39 HCV patients. Results: The rate of IFN-α-induced depression in the sample was 15.4% (6/39). Randomization to citalopram did not decrease the statistical likelihood of developing IFN-α-induced depression (10.5% for citalopram vs. 20.0% for placebo). Conclusion: Citalopram does not prevent depression onset; however, an empirically-supported treatment recommendation for IFN-α-induced depression includes monitoring depressive symptoms throughout antiviral therapy and initiating psychiatric treatment at the initial signs of depression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health