HCV Blues

depressionBy some estimates, depression is experienced by up to one in every three people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This is accounted for, in part, by the risk of depression that occurs in chronic, long-term diseases of all kinds. For hepatitis C specifically, depression remains a common yet underdiagnosed and undertreated complication.

Understanding the existence of a problem is the first step, while taking action to address the problem comes next. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs aims to remedy the depression in hepatitis C patients they treat. They have been testing a collaborative depression care model in HCV clinics at four Veterans Affairs facilities through a clinical trial dubbed the Hepatitis C Translating Initiatives for Depression into Effective Solutions (HEPTIDES) trial.

In this effort, the HEPTIDES depression care team – which is made up of a depression care manager, a pharmacist, and a psychiatrist – works with each patient being treated for hepatitis C infection. After an initial screening, patients who are identified as depressed move into an intervention phase.

Treating depression concurrently with HCV infection through a collaborative care model affords some improvement to patient mood, although this study showed that there is still room for improvement. At BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, our pharmacists understand the importance of caring for the entire patient, which is why we introduce depression care for patients who would benefit from this additional care.


Kanwal F, Pyne JM, Tavakoli-Tabasi S, et al. Collaborative care for depression in chronic hepatitis C clinics. Psych Serv July 1, 2016. [online first]

Stephen C. Vogt, Pharm.D.
President and CEO
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy



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