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New Study May Help Refine the Prescription of Antidepressants

New Study May Help Refine the Prescription of Antidepressants

Depression, antidepressants, Neuropsychopharmacology, inflammation, research, escitalopram, nortriptyline, biomarker, treatment

There are many drugs to treat depression, but doctors are still uncertain about how to prescribe them appropriately. It appears that about two thirds of the patients don’t respond adequately to the treatment, so doctors need to prescribe the drugs based on ‘trial and error’. But this may be about to change, according to a new study published in Nature’s journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Its authors have found at least three biomarkers – based on high levels of inflammation – which indicate high resistance to mild or low-dose antidepressants.

‘The study shows that we could use a blood-based “test” to personalise the treatment of depression,’ says co-author Carmine Pariante of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. ‘If a patient had high levels of inflammation, they could immediately begin with a more intensive treatment programme, such as combining antidepressants or stepping up the doses.’

The results are based on the effects of an 8-week treatment over 74 depressed patients with either escitalopram or nortriptyline, two common types of antidepressants.

‘This is a small study, but the findings are promising,’ the researchers said. ‘Personalised treatments for depression could help us avoid the current ‘trial and error’ way of prescribing antidepressant medication.’

Source: Reuters

Photo: Amanda M Hatfield/Flickr

Annamaria Cattaneo, Massimo Gennarelli, Rudolf Uher, Gerome Breen, Anne Farmer, Katherine J Aitchison, Ian W Craig, Christoph Anacker, Patricia A Zunsztain, Peter McGuffin, & Carmine M Pariante (2012). Candidate Genes Expression Profile Associated with Antidepressants Response in the GENDEP Study: Differentiating between Baseline ‘Predictors’ and Longitudinal ‘Targets’ Neuropsychopharmacology DOI: 10.1038/npp.2012.191

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3 Comments

  • reeba
    September 21, 2012, 07:58

    I believe that using a blood-based test to determine the dosage of anti-depressant medications is a good idea. This is good for testing the hormones levels in the body as well. Doing a blood-based test will possibly help better since it would be more personalized. Also if a patient asks for an increase or decrease in anti-depressant drugs, the blood test could help determine whether or not it’s safe.

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  • Kaitlin
    September 23, 2012, 22:26

    There is different ways to treat depression rather than using prescription drugs. Despression is often related to low serotonin levels. Serottonin’s primary role is that it effects your emotional state, sleep, and sensory perception. A natural remedie to increase serotonin levels and minimize the effects of depression is taking vitamins like the omega 3 fatty acids. Symptoms of depresion can also be reduced by minimizing your intake of sweets and caffine, and avoiding alcohol use.

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  • Rosa Lopez
    September 24, 2012, 05:35

    Depression can be reduced and treated both natrually and with drugs however some of the drugs being used to treat depression affect the synaptic transmission. they begin to change the amount of neurotransmitters released by the neurons, not only are they able to do that stronger drugs such as, Curare, can completely block off receptor sites. synaptic transmission is a very importanat step, it allows our neurotransmitters to send informatin to neighboring neurons

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