Managing Depression During Hepatitis C Treatment

ArticleinCanadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 54(9):614-25 · September 2009with10 Reads
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    The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Canada is estimated to be 1% and expected to increase during the next decade. Mental illness, particularly depression, is common among HCV-infected patients and remains an obstacle to interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) treatment. We summarize the risk factors for interferon-alpha-induced major depressive disorder (IFN-alpha-MDD) in HCV patients and the evidence for antidepressant prophylaxis and symptomatic antidepressant treatment of depression.
    We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL for randomized controlled or quasi-experimental trials evaluating antidepressant prophylactic and symptomatic treatment approaches for depression emerging during IFN-alpha treatment. Manual searches of references listed in review articles, case series, and anecdotal reports supplemented our literature search.
    A total of 9 trials involving prophylactic and symptomatic treatment approaches for IFN-alpha-MDD are summarized in our review. Antidepressant pretreatment is beneficial for patients with elevated baseline depressive symptoms and a preexisting history of IFN-alpha-MDD. Although limited evidence exists for several antidepressant agents, much of the evidence suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are safe and efficacious in treating depressive symptoms secondary to IFN-alpha therapy.
    Both antidepressant pretreatment and symptomatic treatment are viable strategies for treating IFN-alpha-MDD. Improved treatment outcomes and early identification of depression during HCV treatment can be achieved using an integrated medical and mental health treatment approach.