Increased risk of relapse when discontinuing antidepressant therapy

HealthDay News – For patients with depression who feel well enough to stop antidepressant therapy, those who stop their medication are at greater risk of relapse, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Jan. September was released.

Gemma Lewis, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues conducted a randomized study of adults treated at 150 general practices in the UK. Participants who received citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, or mirtazapine and felt well enough to consider discontinuing antidepressants were randomly assigned to either keep their current antidepressant therapy (maintenance) or to taper off that treatment and to cancel (dropout group) in a ratio of 1: 1 (238 or 240 patients).

The researchers found that study assignment adherence in the maintenance and dropout groups was 70 and 52 percent, respectively. After 52 weeks, 39 and 56 percent of patients in the maintenance and discontinuation groups, respectively, relapsed (hazard ratio 2.06). In general, the secondary endpoints were in the same direction as the primary endpoint. More symptoms of depression, anxiety, and withdrawal were observed in the dropout group than in the maintenance group.

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“How do these results affect practice? They confirm what most general practitioners already knew or suspected, ”writes the author in an accompanying editorial. “The results of this and many other studies make it clear that current treatment options for depressed patients are not ideal.”

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Treatments for Depression Neurobehavioral Disorders

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