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Depression Risk Can Be Identified Before Interferon Therapy for Hepatitis

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  • Claudine Crews
    Depression Risk Can Be Identified Before Interferon Therapy for Hepatitis ... WESTPORT, May 29 (Reuters Health) - The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2000
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      Depression Risk Can Be Identified Before Interferon Therapy for Hepatitis
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      WESTPORT, May 29 (Reuters Health) - The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
      Inventory (MMPI) is a reliable tool for identifying the risk of depression
      before and during interferon (IFN) therapy in patients with chronic viral
      liver disease, according to a report from Italian researchers.

      Dr. Luigi Roffi and colleagues from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza,
      Italy, note that a spectrum of depressive symptoms are among the most
      important side effects of interferon therapy. The researchers prospectively
      studied 67 patients with chronic active liver disease who were enrolled in
      open studies and treated with low-dose (3 MU or 6 MU) r-IFN-alpha-2.

      Prior to beginning IFN therapy, the subjects were evaluated neurologically
      and given the MMPI. The same procedure was repeated 3 months after treatment
      began, according to the report in the May issue of the European Journal of
      Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

      The authors found that, after 3 months, nine of 14 patients (64.3%) who had
      baseline MMPI scores at or above 60/100 had signs of depression and five of
      44 patients (11.3%) with baseline scores of less than 60/100 showed moderate
      depression.

      Dr. Roffi's team reports that none of these patients had to stop IFN therapy
      "because of neurological side effects." Three patients receiving IFN
      required anti-depressive therapy, which continued for 1 year after IFN
      treatment had stopped.

      "This suggests," they say, "that, in some cases, IFN neurotoxicity is not
      reversible, and confirms that pre-existing neurologic disturbances may
      increase susceptibility to IFN neurotoxicity in some patients."

      The team concludes that even low-dose IFN therapy may cause or deepen
      depression, and patients with prior emotional disturbances are most prone to
      this reaction. They believe that in the absence of a neurologist or
      psychiatrist, the MMPI is reliable and sensitive enough to screen patients
      who are at risk of depression while undergoing IFN therapy.

      Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2000;12:505-509.

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