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Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:09 GMT

Author: Peter Barnes
Position: Head of Respiratory Medicine
Institution: Imperial College London
Submitted Date: June 05, 2007
Published Date: June 6, 2007
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

I completely agree with Drs Subbe and Menkes that depression in patients with COPD is often overlooked, yet may be present in up to 60% of patients, especially those with more severe disease [1]. Whether this high prevalence of depression is due to chronic inflammatory mediators, such as tumour necrosis factor-a and interleukin-6, or a reaction to the disability imposed by the disease is not yet certain. Depression may make a major contribution to the low health status of patients with COPD and may also interfere with the response to pharmacological therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation. Subbe and Menkes report the encouraging results of a small trial of a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor in depressed patients with COPD and I agree that larger trials of antidepressants are now needed, particularly as effective treatment of depression may enhance the benefits of other treatments.


1. Norwood R (2006) Prevalence and impact of depression in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. Curr.Opin.Pulm.Med. 12: 113-117.

No competing interests declared.