Author(s): Horikawa N, Yamazaki T, Izumi N, Uchihara M
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Abstract This study examined the incidence, clinical course and its risk factors for major depression in patients with chronic hepatitis type C undergoing interferon-alpha therapy. Ninety-nine subjects underwent the psychiatric interviews for diagnosis of major depressive episode according to the DSM-IV criteria before the start of interferon therapy, and once every 4 weeks during both the 24-week treatment period and 12 weeks after the end of therapy. Depressive symptoms were also evaluated using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Major depression occurred during interferon therapy in 23 patients (23.2\%). In 73.9\% of them depression occurred within 8 weeks after the start of therapy. Twenty-two patients with depression completed the therapy and 59.1\% of them achieved remission by the end of therapy with a mean duration of 11.6 weeks. Although the other 40.9\% were not in remission at the end of therapy, they achieved remission within 12 weeks thereafter. The only risk factor for depression was advanced age. Depression occurs frequently among patients with hepatitis type C undergoing interferon-alpha therapy. Such patients require careful observation, and psychiatrists should be sufficiently aware of this significant psychiatric complication of interferon therapy.
This article was published in Gen Hosp Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy