Gender May Not Affect Depression Risk During Interferon Therapy for Hepatitis C

depressed, anxious man sitting at table holding his head
depressed, anxious man sitting at table holding his head
Gender may not influence vulnerability for developing new-onset depression during interferon-alpha therapy.

In patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), female gender may not be associated with increased vulnerability for developing new-onset depression during interferon-alpha therapy, according to results published online in Women & Health.

The study included 155 participants with HCV who were eligible to receive HCV therapy. The researchers used the Semi-Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-I) to assess major depressive disorder and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to assess severity of depressive symptoms.

The researchers assessed participants at baseline, during treatment, and 6 months after treatment completion.

Overall, there was a significant increase in depressive symptoms in all participants from baseline to week 4 (P <.001). There was also a significant decrease in depressive symptoms between end of treatment and 6 months post treatment (P <.001).

Female participants were more likely to have a major depressive episode at the end of treatment (week 24) (P =.018), but not at week 4 or 12.

In both male and female participants, neuro-vegetative and mood-cognitive syndromes increased significantly during the early stage of treatment but remitted by the end of HCV therapy.

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“Before starting treatment, it would be valuable to conduct a full assessment of well-established risk factors for new-onset depression,” the researchers wrote. “This screening is crucial to decrease the risk of depression and improve treatment compliance and the well-being of this population.”


Fialho R, Pereira M, Gilleece Y, et al. A longitudinal study assessing depression in hepatitis C: does gender play a role in the new-onset depression during interferon-alpha treatment? [published online April 9, 2018]. Women & Health. doi:10.1080/03630242.2018.1449778

This article originally appeared on Infectious Disease Advisor