Interferon-α (IFN-α)–induced depression is a major complication to treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to treat depression, but it is not clear whether they can prevent depression in patients receiving IFN therapy for chronic HCV infection.
Dr Bing Ruan and colleagues performed a meta-analysis by searching the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and EMBASE databases through 2013 for published results from randomized, placebo-controlled trials evaluating the utility of SSRIs in preventing IFN-induced depression in HCV patients.
The researchers analyzed data from 7 studies with a total of 662 patients.
The incidence of IFN-induced major depression and depression severity were defined as primary outcomes.
|Prophylactic SSRIs were tolerated in patients with HCV during treatment|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
Sustained virologic response, completion of antiviral therapy, and tolerability were considered secondary outcomes.
A meta-analysis of IFN-induced major depression revealed that prophylactic SSRIs reduced the risk of depression, compared with placebo.
Proportions of patients achieving a sustained virologic response and completing antiviral therapy were similar between patients given SSRIs and controls.
The team noted that prophylactic SSRIs were tolerated in patients with HCV during treatment.
Dr Ruan's team comments, "On the basis of a meta-analysis of 7 randomized controlled trials, prophylactic administration of SSRIs to patients with HCV significantly lowered the incidence of IFN-induced major depression, compared with placebo, and the SSRIs were well tolerated."