Objective: To examine the extent to which fatigue and functional disability correlate with severity of depressive symptoms in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Methods: Fifty patients with chronic hepatitis C were evaluated using structured psychiatric interviews and standardized rating instruments.
Results: Fourteen (28%) of patients had current depressive disorders. Depressed and nondepressed patients did not differ with regard to demographics or hepatic disease severity. Severity of depressive symptoms was highly correlated with fatigue severity while measures of hepatic disease severity, interferon treatment, and severity of comorbid medical illness were not. Severity of depressive symptoms was associated with functional disability and somatization.
Conclusions: Disability and fatigue are more closely related to depression severity than to hepatic disease severity. Antidepressant treatment trials in patients with hepatitis C are indicated to determine whether improvement in depressive symptoms leads to improvement in fatigue and functioning.