Antidepressant use among HCC patients linked to lower risk of death

22 Sep 2023
Antidepressant use among HCC patients linked to lower risk of death

For patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the use of antidepressants after diagnosis may signal increased overall and cancer-specific survival, according to a study. 

For the study, researchers used data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database and looked at 308,938 patients with HCC (42.7 percent aged ≥65 years, 65.6 percent men).

Mortality risk was compared between a group of 21,202 patients with antidepressant exposure within 1 year before HCC diagnosis and a nonuser group of 287,736 individuals, as well as between 66,211 patients with antidepressant prescriptions after HCC diagnosis and 235,083 nonusers.

Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis showed that antidepressant use before the diagnosis of HCC was not associated with the risks of overall mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.10, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.08–1.12) and cancer-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 1.06, 95 percent CI, 0.96-1.17).

In contrast, antidepressant use after a diagnosis of HCC was linked to lower risks of overall mortality (adjusted HR, 0.69, 95 percent CI, 0.68-0.70) and cancer-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 0.63, 95 percent CI, 0.59-0.68).

The associations persisted across subgroups defined by antidepressant classes and comorbidities, including hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection, liver cirrhosis, and alcohol use disorders.

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