Effectiveness of Antidepressants and Predictors of Treatment Response for Depressed HIV Patients in Uganda

Published in: International Journal of STD & AIDS, v.26, no. 14, 2015, p. 998-1006

Posted on RAND.org on January 09, 2015

by Victoria K. Ngo, Glenn Wagner, Noeline Nakasujja, Akena Dickens, Frances Aunon, Seggane Musisi

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Antidepressant medication is well established for the treatment of depression but little is known about its effectiveness for HIV populations in sub-Saharan Africa. This study examined the effectiveness of antidepressant treatment and predictors of treatment response among depressed HIV patients in Uganda. Data were obtained from two open label trials in which 184 HIV patients were diagnosed with depression and started on antidepressants. Data at treatment baseline and month 6 were compared to assess treatment response, and baseline predictors of response were assessed. A total of 154 completed month 6, of whom 122 (79%) had responded to treatment and were no longer depressed (Patient Health Questionnaire-9, score < 5). Bivariate analysis found that education, CD4 count, general health functioning, physical health, pain, quality of life and social support variables were associated with antidepressant treatment response; however, only secondary education and social support independently predicted treatment response in logistic multiple regression analysis. Baseline depression severity was not associated with treatment response. In conclusion, antidepressants are effective in treating both moderate and more severe depression among persons living with HIV in Uganda, and education [OR (95% CI) = 4.33 (1.33–14.11)] and social support [O.R. (95% C.I.) = 1.54 (1.03–2.30)] were most predictive of treatment response.

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