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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;44(8):e178-85. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181dc250f.

Impact of depressive symptoms and their treatment on completing antiviral treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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  • 1Viral Hepatitis Study Group, Miles and Shirley Fiterman Center for Digestive Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.



Interferon-induced depression affects 20% to 40% of patients treated for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). The aim of our study was to examine the influence of antidepressant treatment and whether this improves the likelihood of completing therapy.


One hundred randomly selected patients with chronic HCV undergoing antiviral therapy at a single center were identified. Patients were categorized as Group 1 (no depressive symptoms during treatment), Group 2 (depressive symptoms without antidepressant therapy), Group 3 (preexisting or prophylactic antidepressants before therapy), and Group 4 (on-demand antidepressant therapy for depressive symptoms).


Mean age was 49 years with 72% men. Genotype 1 infection was noted in 65% of patients, and the mean pretreatment HCV RNA level was 1,419,919 IU. Patients without earlier depression receiving on-demand therapy (Group 4) had a significantly higher rate of antiviral treatment completion compared with Group 3 (92% vs. 52%; P=0.01). Patients in groups 1 and 4 with no baseline history of depression had similar treatment completion rates. No significant relationship between the use of antidepressant therapy, SVR or premature cessation of therapy was observed.


Preexisting depression was associated with lower antiviral treatment completion rates despite the use of prophylactic antidepressant therapy. In patients without preexisting depression, however, on-demand antidepressant therapy for depressive symptoms was strongly associated with the highest treatment completion rates in the cohort. Antidepressant therapy for new or worsening depressive symptoms independent of baseline depression status did not affect the probability of achieving SVR or stopping treatment prematurely.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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