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Help Available for Depression Triggered by Interferon



Miller's next study will look at whether Paxil can reduce depression among hepatitis C patients. So far, it seems to be working, he says.


Hepatitis C expert Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, MD, tells WebMD he gives antidepressants to patients on interferon therapy at the first sign of a problem. If patients have a history of depression or have experienced depression once before while on interferon, he gives antidepressants before interferon therapy.


"We started doing this without [research to support it], though," says Di Bisceglie, a professor of internal medicine and chief of hepatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri. "It's good to get some science injected into this." But he says the study does not mean that everyone who receives interferon needs to be pretreated with antidepressants.


While it looks as though Paxil has a similar potential to reduce depression in hepatitis C patients, the drug has sexual side effects that could become an issue for people living with a chronic disease like hepatitis than for those trying to get through cancer treatment.


"It hasn't come up as yet, but it might, and then, of course, we might think about using other antidepressants that might have a little bit better profile as far as sexual function," Miller says.



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