Depressive symptoms are frequent among drug users, but not associated with hepatitis C infection

Lone W Madsen, Thilde Fabricius, Simon Hjerrild, Thomas M Hansen, Belinda K Mössner, Inge Birkemose, Merete Skamling, Peer Brehm Christensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


AIM: To compare the prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms among drug users with and without hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional survey study carried out at the 2 major drug treatment centres on the island of Funen, Denmark. Participants were drug users presenting to the 2 treatment centres. Individuals with chronic hepatitis B virus or HIV infection were excluded. Participants completed the Major Depression Inventory (MDI) questionnaire when presenting at the centres. Patients with MDI scores indicating severe depression (total MDI score ≥ 35) were referred for treatment evaluation. Hepatitis C status was classified by the presence of anti-HCV as a marker of HCV exposure and HCV-RNA as a marker of ongoing infection.

RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-eight patients were included, of whom 235 (88%) had complete serological testing; 100 (43%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 36-49%) had chronic hepatitis C. The median MDI score was 22 (interquartile range 12-33); 32% (95% CI 26-39%) had a score compatible with depression and 14% (95% CI 10-19%) were rated as severe depression. Depression was not associated with hepatitis C (HCV-infected 29%, non-infected 35%; p = 0.25). Forty-one percent (11/27) of the evaluated participants started antidepressant treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated a high prevalence of depressive symptoms among drug users, but this was not more frequent among HCV-infected patients. The high overall prevalence of depression underlines the relevance of screening for depression in patients who are drug users.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)566-572
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2014


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