To send this article to your account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Current treatment for depression in primary care and other out-patient settings demonstrates a pattern that is incongruous with the magnitude of the burden of depression suggested by its associated disability.
To review important considerations in current depression treatment with a focus on antidepressant use.
Factors influencing the under treatment of depression in real-world settings are examined.
Patient and clinician behaviour as well as the incentives created by the health care system affect the likelihood of realising effective antidepressant therapy in practice.
Given the complexities of clinical practice, selection criteria for an antidepressant should include safety, efficacy and tolerability, as well as the ability of the antidepressant to deliver real-world efficacy while balancing health care costs in the long term.
Depression, which only a few decades ago was considered to be a short-term illness requiring short-term treatment, is now recognised as a recurrent, sometimes chronic, long-term illness.
To highlight the clinical importance of long-term antidepressant therapy in the treatment of depression.
The current literature was reviewed to examine the relationship between duration of antidepressant therapy and efficacy.
Approximately one-third to a half of patients successfully stabilised in acute-phase treatment will relapse if medication is not sustained throughout the continuation period. Only 10–15% will relapse if medication is continued. For maintenance-phase therapy, approximately 60% of patients at risk will experience a recurrent episode of depression within I year if untreated, whereas those who continue in treatment will have a recurrence rate of between 10% and 30%.
Risk of relapse and recurrence of depression can be significantly reduced if adequate continuation and maintenance therapy durations are achieved.
Although the efficacy of antidepressants has been demonstrated in randomised, controlled clinical trials, it is how an antidepressant is used in clinical practice that determines its clinical effectiveness, or real-world efficacy.
To explore the frequency with which antidepressants are used at adequate dose and duration to obtain remission of symptoms and prevent relapse in clinical practice and discuss potential implications for clinical outcomes.
Studies of antidepressant prescribing were reviewed and comparisons made between antidepressant classes and individual compounds within those classes.
Naturalistic studies show that patients who begin therapy on tricyclic antidepressants often receive sub-therapeutic doses for inadequate duration; conversely patients who begin therapy on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors more often receive an adequate dose of therapy for a longer duration.
How antidepressants are used in clinical practice can determine the clinical outcomes that are achieved. Antidepressants that are more forgiving of sub-optimal prescribing and use patterns by providers and patients, respectively, may help to improve real-world efficacy.