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Antidepressants come in handy for patients on treatment for hepatitis, cancers and multiple sclerosis

The sad part in the treatment of certain cancers, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis with interferon therapy is that while the treatment can extent life, it can seriously spoil its quality. Alpha interferon a drug used to fight these diseases can cause crippling depression.

A new research now shows that the use of an antidepressant before starting the treatment can avoid this problem. Almost 50% of people on chemotherapy with high dose interferon for skin cancer (malignant melanoma), developed severe depression. But when they were given antidepressant Paxil for two weeks before chemotherapy, only 11% developed depression.

Dr. Andrew H. Miller, MD of the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, says doctors have assumed for years that depression therapies themselves can induce depression.

The good news is that Paxil and other antidepressants not only help alleviate the depression that could cause people to stop treatment, but also help in other ways. Study participants who took Paxil before undergoing 12 weeks of interferon treatment reported less pain and fewer instances of gastric irritations. They also reported less confusion or memory problems and slightly less fatigue than people who didn’t get the antidepressants

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