New Treatment Strategies Help Depressed Patients Become Symptom Free
There are new treatment strategies available to help depressed patients become symptom-free according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Akinso: There are new treatment strategies available to help depressed patients become symptom-free according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, also known as the STAR*D study, showed that one and three depressed patients who didn't respond to an antidepressant medication became symptom-free with the use of an additional medication and one in four achieved remission after switching to a different antidepressant. The results of the STAR*D study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. NIMH Director Dr. Thomas Insel discusses the design of the study at a recent teleconference.
Insel: This is the largest effectiveness trial ever done on depression. It was designed to identify the best way to treat patients who do not get well after a first treatment with an antidepressant. Until now there's been only limited information about how to successfully treat people who have not recovered sufficiently after the first step. Most important, this study focused on remission that is the removal of symptoms rather than response, which is the reduction of symptoms. The goal here was to find treatments that help people get well, not just get better. Now this landmark study provides patients with major depressant disorder and their clinicians extensive information on antidepressant treatments from the single large long-term study directly aimed at the important public health goal, finding the best strategy for the treatment of resistant depression. The knowledge available to guide individual treatment choices for people with depression will be greatly enhanced by the STAR*D findings.
Akinso: Dr. Insel said if the first treatment attempt fails, patients shouldn't give up. For more information, check out www.nimh.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Thomas Insel