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Association of interferon-alpha-induced depression and improved treatment response in patients with hepatitis C.

Loftis JM, Socherman RE, Howell CD, Whitehead AJ, Hill JA, Dominitz JA, Hauser P. Association of interferon-alpha-induced depression and improved treatment response in patients with hepatitis C. Neuroscience Letters. 2004 Jul 22; 365(2):87-91.

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Abstract:

Thirty-nine patients with hepatitis C viral infection on interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) therapy were monitored weekly using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Thirteen of thirty-nine patients (33%) developed IFN-alpha-induced major depressive disorder (MDD). During the course of IFN-alpha therapy, patients who became depressed were treated with citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. Results indicated that: (1) IFN-alpha response rates were significantly higher in those patients who developed IFN-alpha-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-alpha therapy were, on average, approximately 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-alpha-induced MDD may be a predictor of a positive response to IFN-alpha therapy, or an indication of optimal dosing.





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