News from Hepatitis Week of Sept. 21, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 38
Study: Psychological Side Effects of Interferon Alpha Can Be Dealt With

Hepatitis C patients who have trouble tolerating interferon alpha may have options to combat the psychological side effects that can result from this standard treatment.

Interferon alpha may cause depression, paranoia or confusion.

Martin Schaefer, of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psyschotherapy at Humboldt University in Berlin., and his colleagues noted that the medications Zolpidem or Zopiclon can be used for the treatment of sleeping disturbances in patients taking interferon alpha.

The researchers noted that serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors including citalopram or paroxetine were effective for the acute treatment of interferon-alpha associated depression.

"In an interdisciplinary setting, psychiatric disorders and drug addiction should not prevent patients from interferon-alpha treatment," concluded the researchers. "Furthermore, interdisciplinary care should improve quality of life, adherence and therapeutic outcome of interferon-alpha treated patients.

Fortschritt Neurology and Psychiatry2003 Sep;71(9):469-76