Management of Depression Induced by Interferon Hepatitis Therapies

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Objective: Treatment with interferon therapy for hepatitis can induce depression and/or recurrence of affective illness, which could result in cessation of interferon treatment. This article reviews treatment for interferon-induced depression, including antidepressant drugs that may diminish associated symptoms.

Data Sources: English-language literature with no date restrictions on the treatment of interferon-induced depression was reviewed via PubMed and MEDLINE using the key words hepatitis, interferon, hepatitis C, interferon-induced depression, pharmacotherapy of interferon-induced depression, and depression prevention. Fourteen of the most pertinent references are cited.

Data Extraction: Escitalopram is the most prominently noted pharmaceutical prescribed for treating mood symptoms in hepatitis patients with interferon-induced depression. Other antidepressant medicines may have utility as well.

Results: Antidepressant drugs can be efficacious in diminishing mood disorders during hepatitis therapies. It remains controversial as to whether antidepressant medications can provide prophylaxis against newly developing interferon-induced depressions in individuals with no past history of a mood disorder.

Conclusions: Antidepressant medicines can be effective at improving mood in patients undergoing interferon treatment for hepatitis.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(5):doi:10.4088/PCC.12r01487

Submitted: October 9, 2012; accepted May 3, 2013.

Published online: September 5, 2013.

Corresponding author: Steven Lippmann, MD, ACB Clinic, First Floor, 550 South Jackson St, Louisville, KY 40202 (

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(5):doi:10.4088/PCC.12r01487