Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment of depression in symptomatic HIV infection and AIDS: Improvements in affective and somatic symptoms

Stephen J. Ferrando*, Jonathon D. Goldman, Wendy E. Charness

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Somatic symptoms often complicate the diagnosis and psychopharmacological treatment of depression in HIV illness. We treated 33 depressed HIV-positive men and women with medically symptomatic HIV or AIDS (CDC stages 2B, 2C, 3B, or 3C) in a 6 week open-label trial with sertraline, paroxetine, or fluoxetine, to assess their effectiveness and tolerability. We further assessed whether treatment of depression resulted in a reduction in both affective and somatic symptoms in this medically ill population. Twenty- four subjects (73%) completed the trial (7 on sertraline, 7 on paroxetine, 10 on fluoxetine), 20 (83%) of whom went clinical responders. Nine dropped out within 1-3 weeks of treatment because of adverse effects, mostly agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. Subjects who completed 6 weeks of SSRI treatment experienced significant reductions in both affective and somatic symptoms, many of the latter having been attributed to HIV rather than depression. These results suggest that, even in later stages of HIV illness, the contribution of depression to perceived somatic symptoms may be significant, and that these symptoms may improve with antidepressant treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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