Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Help Available for Depression Triggered by Interferon


Meenhard Herlyn, DSci, of Philadelphia's Wistar Institute, says that more patients might agree to take high-dose interferon therapy if it could be made less physically difficult.

"Anything you can do to reduce the side effects of interferon would be a big help," Herlyn says. "Many people have to stop the treatment because they can't handle it."

People with hepatitis C also are treated with interferon infusions combined with the drug Virazole.

Though it's likely that many of these patients become depressed from interferon, few studies have documented how widespread the problem may be. The CDC says nearly 4 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, a liver disease transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood or blood products.

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.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Malignant melanoma
About 40-50 percent of those who live to be 65 may get it. Here’s how to spot early.
Woman checking out tan lines
There’s a dark side to that strive for beauty. See them here.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
precancerous lesions slideshow
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
screening tests for men
Vitamin D
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
Brilliant sun rays