Prophylactic antidepressant treatment in patients with hepatitis C on antiviral therapy: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Benjamin J. Morasco, Jennifer M. Loftis, David W. Indest, Samantha Ruimy, John W. Davison, Bradford Felker, Peter Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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