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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disease burden worldwide, with lifetime prevalence in the United States of 17%. Here we present the results of the first prospective, large-scale, patient- and rater-blind, randomized controlled trial evaluating the clinical importance of achieving congruence between combinatorial pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing and medication selection for MDD.
1,167 outpatients diagnosed with MDD and an inadequate response to ≥1 psychotropic medications were enrolled and randomized 1:1 to a Treatment as Usual (TAU) arm or PGx-guided care arm. Combinatorial PGx testing categorized medications in three groups based on the level of gene-drug interactions: use as directed, use with caution, or use with increased caution and more frequent monitoring. Patient assessments were performed at weeks 0 (baseline), 4, 8, 12 and 24. Patients, site raters, and central raters were blinded in both arms until after week 8. In the guided-care arm, physicians had access to the combinatorial PGx test result to guide medication selection. Primary outcomes utilized the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) and included symptom improvement (percent change in HAM-D17 from baseline), response (50% decrease in HAM-D17 from baseline), and remission (HAM-D17<7) at the fully blinded week 8 time point. The durability of patient outcomes was assessed at week 24. Medications were considered congruent with PGx test results if they were in the ‘use as directed’ or ‘use with caution’ report categories while medications in the ‘use with increased caution and more frequent monitoring’ were considered incongruent. Patients who started on incongruent medications were analyzed separately according to whether they changed to congruent medications by week8.
At week 8, symptom improvement for individuals in the guided-care arm was not significantly different than TAU (27.2% versus 24.4%, p=0.11). However, individuals in the guided-care arm were more likely than those in TAU to achieve remission (15% versus 10%; p<0.01) and response (26% versus 20%; p=0.01). Remission rates, response rates, and symptom reductions continued to improve in the guided-treatment arm until the 24week time point. Congruent prescribing increased to 91% in the guided-care arm by week 8. Among patients who were taking one or more incongruent medication at baseline, those who changed to congruent medications by week 8 demonstrated significantly greater symptom improvement (p<0.01), response (p=0.04), and remission rates (p<0.01) compared to those who persisted on incongruent medications.
Combinatorial PGx testing improves short- and long-term response and remission rates for MDD compared to standard of care. In addition, prescribing congruency with PGx-guided medication recommendations is important for achieving symptom improvement, response, and remission for MDD patients.
Funding Acknowledgements: This study was supported by Assurex Health, Inc.
Distinguishing bipolar disorder (BP) from major depressive disorder (MDD) has important relevance for prognosis and treatment. Prior studies have identified clinical features that differ between these two diseases but have been limited by heterogeneity and lack of replication. We sought to identify depression-related features that distinguish BP from MDD in large samples with replication.
Using a large, opportunistically ascertained collection of subjects with BP and MDD we selected 34 depression-related clinical features to test across the diagnostic categories in an initial discovery dataset consisting of 1228 subjects (386 BPI, 158 BPII and 684 MDD). Features significantly associated with BP were tested in an independent sample of 1000 BPI cases and 1000 MDD cases for classifying ability in receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
Seven clinical features showed significant association with BPI compared with MDD: delusions, psychomotor retardation, incapacitation, greater number of mixed symptoms, greater number of episodes, shorter episode length, and a history of experiencing a high after depression treatment. ROC analyses of a model including these seven factors showed significant evidence for discrimination between BPI and MDD in an independent dataset (area under the curve = 0.83). Only two features (number of mixed symptoms, and feeling high after an antidepressant) showed an association with BPII versus MDD.
Our study suggests that clinical features distinguishing depression in BPI versus MDD have important classification potential for clinical practice, and should also be incorporated as ‘baseline’ features in the evaluation of novel diagnostic biomarkers.
Co-morbidity of mood and anxiety disorders is common and often associated with greater illness severity. This study investigates clinical correlates and familiality of four anxiety disorders in a large sample of bipolar disorder (BP) and major depressive disorder (MDD) pedigrees.
The sample comprised 566 BP families with 1416 affected subjects and 675 MDD families with 1726 affected subjects. Clinical characteristics and familiality of panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were examined in BP and MDD pedigrees with multivariate modeling using generalized estimating equations.
Co-morbidity between mood and anxiety disorders was associated with several markers of clinical severity, including earlier age of onset, greater number of depressive episodes and higher prevalence of attempted suicide, when compared with mood disorder without co-morbid anxiety. Familial aggregation was found with co-morbid panic and OCD in both BP and MDD pedigrees. Specific phobia showed familial aggregation in both MDD and BP families, although the findings in BP were just short of statistical significance after adjusting for other anxiety co-morbidities. We found no evidence for familiality of social phobia.
Our findings suggest that co-morbidity of MDD and BP with specific anxiety disorders (OCD, panic disorder and specific phobia) is at least partly due to familial factors, which may be of relevance to both phenotypic and genetic studies of co-morbidity.
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