Interferon beta-1a-induced depression and suicidal ideation in multiple sclerosis

Marco Aurélio Lana-Peixoto, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira, Vitor Geraldi Haase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Depression and suicide have been reported in association with multiple sclerosis (MS). Some studies show that interferon beta may increase the depression rate. We report a case of depression and suicidal ideation in coincidence with the start of increased doses of interferon beta-1a and their complete reversal following the drug withdrawal. The patient was a 21-year-old man with MS and no past history of affective disorders who was given interferon beta-1a in the dose of 11 μg three times per week. As a new relapse occurred the dose of interferon beta-1a was increased to 22 μg three times a week. The patient then observed increased worry, irritability and a sense of discouragement as well as recurring suicidal thoughts. His mood was rapidly restored following interferon beta-1a withdrawal. This case suggests that patients with MS may develop depression and suicidal thoughts when treated with high doses of interferon beta-1a.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-724
Number of pages4
JournalArquivos de neuro-psiquiatria
Issue number3 B
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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