Early prediction of major depression in chronic hepatitis C patients during peg-interferon alpha-2b treatment by assessment of vegetative-depressive symptoms after four weeks

Geert Robaeys*, Lozef De Bie, Marieke C. Wichers, Liesbeth Bruckers, Frederik Nevens, Peter Michielsen, Marc Van Ranst, Frank Buntinx

*Corresponding author for this work

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AIM: To study the predictive value of the vegetative-depressive symptoms of the Zung Depression Rating Scale for the occurrence of depression during treatment with peg-interferon alpha-2b of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients.

METHODS: The predictive value of vegetative-depressive symptoms at 4 wk of treatment for the occurrence of a subsequent diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) was studied in CHC patients infected after substance use in a prospective, multi-center treatment trial in Belgium. The presence of vegetative-depressive symptoms was assessed using the Zung Scale before and 4 wk after the start of antiviral treatment.

RESULTS: Out of 4.9 eligible patients, 19 (39%) developed MDD. The area under the ROC curve of the vegetative Zung subscale was 0.73, P = 0.004. The sensitivity at a cut-point of > 15/35 was 95% (95% CI: 74-100). The positive predictive value equalled 44% (95% CI: 29-60).

CONCLUSION: In this group of Belgian CHC patients infected after substance use, antiviral treatment caused a considerable risk of depression. Seven vegetative-depressive symptoms of the Zung scale at wk 4 of treatment predicted 95% of all emerging depressions, at a price of 56% false positive test results. (C) 2007 WJG. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5736-5740
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 21-Nov-2007
Externally publishedYes


  • interferons
  • hepatitis C
  • chronic
  • substance-related disorders
  • depression
  • Zung self rating scale
  • prognosis
  • RISK
  • MOOD

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