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The Beck Depression Inventory, 2nd edition (BDI-II) is widely used in research on depression. However, the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) is unknown. MCID can be estimated in several ways. Here we take a patient-centred approach, anchoring the change on the BDI-II to the patient's global report of improvement.
We used data collected (n = 1039) from three randomized controlled trials for the management of depression. Improvement on a ‘global rating of change’ question was compared with changes in BDI-II scores using general linear modelling to explore baseline dependency, assessing whether MCID is best measured in absolute terms (i.e. difference) or as percent reduction in scores from baseline (i.e. ratio), and receiver operator characteristics (ROC) to estimate MCID according to the optimal threshold above which individuals report feeling ‘better’.
Improvement in BDI-II scores associated with reporting feeling ‘better’ depended on initial depression severity, and statistical modelling indicated that MCID is best measured on a ratio scale as a percentage reduction of score. We estimated a MCID of a 17.5% reduction in scores from baseline from ROC analyses. The corresponding estimate for individuals with longer duration depression who had not responded to antidepressants was higher at 32%.
MCID on the BDI-II is dependent on baseline severity, is best measured on a ratio scale, and the MCID for treatment-resistant depression is larger than that for more typical depression. This has important implications for clinical trials and practice.
Meta-analyses suggest that reboxetine may be less effective than other antidepressants. Such comparisons may be biased by lower adherence to reboxetine and subsequent handling of missing outcome data. This study illustrates how to adjust for differential non-adherence and hence derive an unbiased estimate of the efficacy of reboxetine compared with citalopram in primary care patients with depression.
A structural mean modelling (SMM) approach was used to generate adherence-adjusted estimates of the efficacy of reboxetine compared with citalopram using GENetic and clinical Predictors Of treatment response in Depression (GENPOD) trial data. Intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses were performed to compare estimates of effectiveness with results from previous meta-analyses.
At 6 weeks, 92% of those randomized to citalopram were still taking their medication, compared with 72% of those randomized to reboxetine. In ITT analysis, there was only weak evidence that those on reboxetine had a slightly worse outcome than those on citalopram [adjusted difference in mean Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores: 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) –0.52 to 2.90, p = 0.17]. There was no evidence of a difference in efficacy when differential non-adherence was accounted for using the SMM approach for mean BDI (–0.29, 95% CI –3.04 to 2.46, p = 0.84) or the other mental health outcomes.
There was no evidence of a difference in the efficacy of reboxetine and citalopram when these drugs are taken and tolerated by depressed patients. The SMM approach can be implemented in standard statistical software to adjust for differential non-adherence and generate unbiased estimates of treatment efficacy for comparisons of two (or more) active interventions.
An argument often used to support the view that psychotic experiences (PEs) in general population samples are a valid phenotype for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia is that risk factors for schizophrenia show similar patterns of association with PEs. However, PEs often co-occur with depression, and no study has explicitly tested whether risk factors for schizophrenia are shared between PEs and depression, or are psychopathology specific, while jointly modelling both outcomes.
We used data from 7030 subjects from a birth cohort study. Depression and PEs at age 18 years were assessed using self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We compared the extent to which risk factors for schizophrenia across sociodemographic, familial, neurodevelopmental, stress–adversity, emotional–behavioural and substance use domains showed different associations with PEs and depression within bivariate models that allowed for their correlation.
Most of the exposures examined were associated, to a similar degree, with an increased risk of both outcomes. However, whereas female sex and family history of depression showed some discrimination as potential risk factors for depression and PEs, with stronger associations in the former, markers of abnormal neurodevelopment showed stronger associations with PEs.
The argument that PEs are valid markers for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia, made simply on the basis that they share risk factors in common, is not well supported. PEs seem to be a weak index of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia; however, studies disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.
Alcohol is commonly considered to be associated with persistence of common mental disorder (CMD; anxiety/depression). However no community-based longitudinal studies have investigated the direction of causality.
We examined the association between alcohol consumption and recovery from CMD using data on 706 community-based subjects with CMD who were followed for 18 months. Alcohol consumption at baseline was defined as hazardous drinking [Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) ⩾8], binge drinking (defined as six or more units of alcohol on one occasion, approximately two to three pints of commercially sold beer) and dependence.
When compared with a non-binge-drinking group, non-recovery at follow-up was associated with binge drinking on at least a monthly basis at baseline, although the confidence interval (CI) included unity [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.47, 95% CI 0.89–2.45]. There was also weak evidence that alcohol dependence was associated with non-recovery (adjusted OR 1.37, 95% CI 0.67–2.81). There was little evidence to support hazardous drinking as a risk factor for non-recovery (adjusted OR 1.12, 95% CI 0.67–1.88).
Binge drinking may be a potential risk factor for non-recovery from CMD, although the possibility of no effect cannot be excluded. Larger studies are required to refute or confirm this finding.
Clozapine has become a widely used drug in therapyresistant schizophrenia and, increasingly, in the levodopa-induced dyskinesias and the psychoses of chronic Parkinson's disease. We report the case of a 43 year old male patient who developed a reversible encephalopathy associated with clozapine therapy.
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