MDD is the leading cause of disability of all medical illnesses, with substantial functional impairment, morbidity, and mortality. Few studies have assessed the efficacy of antidepressant medications beyond 1 year of maintenance treatment for the prevention of recurrent depression. However, a new study being published in the upcoming December 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry has done just that.
The PREVENT study, an acronym for the title of the study “The Prevention of Recurrent Episodes of Depression with Venlafaxine for Two Years study,” is, according to one of the senior authors on the paper, Dr. Martin B. Keller, “a multiphase, double-blind, randomized clinical trial designed to investigate the efficacy of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine extended release in the prevention of depressive recurrence over 2 years in patients with a history of recurrent MDD who have responded to acute and continuation treatment.” The investigators randomly assigned patients with recurrent depression to receive treatment with either venlafaxine extended-release (ER) or fluoxetine, an antidepressant already established as efficacious as a comparative medication. Although the PREVENT study followed patients for over two years, this article reports only on the acute and continuation phases, which were 10 weeks and 6 months long respectively.
Dr. Keller notes that this study “has several novel aspects to its design and methods,” including its very large sample size, and long period of blinded treatment, where neither the physicians nor patients knew which medication the patient was receiving. The authors found that nearly 80% of the patients achieved at least an adequate therapeutic response to acute phase treatment with venlafaxine ER or fluoxetine, and almost none of the responders who continued on treatment for 6 months relapsed.
Husseini K. Manji, M.D., FRCP(C), Deputy Editor of Biological Psychiatry and Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, comments on the study’s findings:
"Major depression is a serious, debilitating, life-shortening illness that affects millions of people worldwide. This is thus an important study that shows surprisingly high response and remission rates. For many patients, major depression is a chronic illness characterized by multiple episodes of symptom exacerbation, residual symptoms between episodes, and functional impairment. Thus, the ability to maintain patients in remission is critical to reducing long-term disability."
In addition to the high response rates by the patients in this study, the rates of adverse events (side effects) were similar among the two treatment groups. Dr. Manji does issue a caution though with regard to generalizing the findings, noting that “the investigators studied a group of patients whose course of illness was not chronic. Furthermore, they excluded patients with a history of treatment resistance or significant comorbid illnesses.” However, he added that “if replicated, the results suggest that there may be a subgroup of depressed patients for whom early and sustained treatment can maintain response and prevent relapses." Dr. Keller remarks that these results are “critical to clinical practice and should be considered when choosing a treatment for patients with recurrent MDD.”
Jayne Dawkins | alfa
Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences