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Depression More Likely to Strike Women Receiving Interferon for Hepatitis
  Depression is more likely to strike women hepatitis patients receiving interferon therapy, and particularly those with hepatitis C, according to a study reported in the journal Digestive Diseases.
Because chronic viral hepatitis and its treatment with interferon have an impact on patients' quality of life, a team of Greek researchers evaluated the degree of depression in patients with chronic viral hepatitis before and during interferon therapy.
The study involved 132 male and female patients: 38 with chronic hepatitis C, 36 with chronic hepatitis B and 58 individuals with no chronic disease. The researchers measured depression using the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS).
At the beginning of the study, the SDS index levels were similar among the participants in the hepatitis group and the control group. While treated with interferon, the researchers observed a significant increase in the SDS index in both hepatitis B and hepatitis C patients. After treatment, the patients' levels of depression returned to the baseline levels.
During interferon therapy, the SDS indexes were higher in hepatitis C patients compared to hepatitis B patients and in women compared to men. Patients with hepatitis were more than five times more likely to develop severe depression.
"Monitoring during treatment is mandatory in order to maximize treatment adherence," concluded the researchers.
Source: Digestive Diseases 2002;20:284-288
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