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
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy