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New Analysis Finds Antidepressants Boost Patient Adherence to Hepatitis C Treatment
Date:4/11/2011

BALTIMORE, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Adherence to interferon, an important medication used to treat Hepatitis C, is critical to successfully clearing the virus that causes the disease. A new observational analysis by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS)  finds that when Hepatitis C patients are also being treated for depression -- a frequent side effect of interferon use -- they are more likely to remain on their interferon therapy.  The analysis is being presented today at the International Conference on Viral Hepatitis 2011.

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According to the study, approximately 40 percent of Hepatitis C patients on interferon and ribavirin -- an antiviral medication used in combination with interferon -- were not adherent to their medication regimen. This puts patients at risk for progression of their disease due to their inability to eliminate the virus. The research found that the patients also using an antidepressant had the highest rates of adherence to their Hepatitis C treatment. Among patients with Hepatitis C who were using an antidepressant, 68.5 percent were adherent to their interferon therapy.  For patients being treated for both Hepatitis C and HIV, 77.3 percent taking antidepressants were properly complying with their interferon therapy.  Overall, 46 percent of patients with Hepatitis C were on an antidepressant.

"A common side-effect of interferon is depression, but little research has been done looking at the impact of treating depression on a patient's adherence with their Hepatitis C medications," said Mary Cassler RPh, Director of Clinical Innovation in Medco's Advanced Clinical Science and Research Group, who conducted the analysis.  "These findings point to the need to proactively screen patients
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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