Immunotherapies revolutionised the treatment of several disorders but show specific side-effect profiles which frequently involve psychological symptoms. Long term interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) therapy can cause wide-ranging psychiatric side-effects from fatigue, insomnia, anxiety to full-blown depression. This treatment-emergent depression shares several symptoms with major depressive disorder (MDD) with a predominance of somatic/neurovegetative symptoms, and can be treated with antidepressants. However, this experience directed research to inflammatory mechanisms in MDD. MDD has been confirmed as a heterogeneous disorder with a subgroup of patients suffering from low-grade chronic inflammation and frequently resistant to traditional antidepressant treatment. Thus future research should develop strategies to identify those MDD patients who could benefit from drugs acting through inflammatory pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery