Antidepressants ‘do not cure all depression symptoms completely’

April 22nd, 2011 - 5:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 22 (ANI): Antidepressants do not cure all depression symptoms completely, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from the largest study on the treatment of depression, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that even people who show a clear treatment response with antidepressant medications continue to experience symptoms like insomnia, sadness and decreased concentration.

“Widely used antidepressant medications, while working overall, missed these symptoms. If patients have persistent residual symptoms, these individuals have a high probability of incomplete recovery,” said Shawn McClintock, assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the analysis.

The researchers tracked a wide range of symptoms of depression - including sadness, suicidal thoughts, and changes in sleep patterns, appetite/weight, concentration, outlook and energy/fatigue - at the start of the trial and at the end of the antidepressant treatment course.

McClintock’s research used data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, or STAR*D study, the largest ever on the treatment of major depressive disorder and considered a benchmark in the field of depression research.

The six-year study initially included more than 4,000 patients with major depressive disorder from clinics across the country.

All responders reported between three to 13 residual depressive symptoms, and 75 percent of participants reported five symptoms or more.

Some of their symptoms included insomnia that occurs in the middle of the night (nearly 79 percent); sadness (nearly 71 percent); and decreased concentration and decision-making skills (nearly 70 percent). Moderately severe midnoctural insomnia was reported in nearly 60 percent of participants - more than twice as frequently as other symptoms.

Thoughts of suicide rarely persisted or emerged during treatment, researchers found.

“Some people fear that antidepressant medication increases thoughts of suicide,” McClintock said.

“This provided counterevidence of that,” added McClintock.

“Our findings do suggest that the use of measurement-based care techniques to identify and target residual depressive symptoms is essential to help patients return to normal function and recover from depression in the long term,” said co-author Madhukar Trivedi.

The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.(ANI)

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