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Somatic diseases have been associated with an increased risk for subsequent schizophrenia; however, it is unknown whether prior somatic diseases negatively affect early treatment outcomes after a first-time schizophrenia diagnosis.
We included all individuals born in Denmark after January 1st, 1977 and first-time diagnosed with schizophrenia between January 1st, 1996 and December 31st, 2015. We identified all life-time somatic hospital contacts and all prescriptions within the year before the first-time schizophrenia diagnosis and followed patients for up to five years regarding risk for schizophrenia (re)-hospitalization (relapse). We performed Cox regression analyses calculating hazard rate ratios (HRR) including 95%-confidence intervals (CI) and adjusted for relevant confounders.
We followed a total of 11,856 patients with a first-time schizophrenia diagnosis (58.7% male, mean age 23.1 (SD = 4.7) years) for 39,033 person-years, whereof 5506 (46.4%) had relapse with schizophrenia re-hospitalization during 5-year of follow-up. Somatic hospital contacts ever before (95.4%; HRR = 1.30; 95%-CI = 1.07–1.59), and specifically during the year before schizophrenia diagnosis (42.5%; HRR = 1.36; 95%-CI = 1.11–1.66) were associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia relapse as were a greater number of prior somatic hospital contacts (p < 0.001). Individuals with up to four different prescriptions for somatic medications showed a trend towards a slightly lower risk of relapse.
Somatic diseases and health seeking patterns might have an impact on the course of schizophrenia, where severe somatic comorbidity, specifically during the year before first-time schizophrenia diagnosis, seem to negatively affect early treatment course, whereas previous somatic medication use may indicate a better compliance and help-seeking behavior.
Immune system markers may predict affective disorder treatment response, but whether an overall immune system marker predicts bipolar disorder treatment effect is unclear.
Bipolar CHOICE (N = 482) and LiTMUS (N = 283) were similar comparative effectiveness trials treating patients with bipolar disorder for 24 weeks with four different treatment arms (standard-dose lithium, quetiapine, moderate-dose lithium plus optimised personalised treatment (OPT) and OPT without lithium). We performed secondary mixed effects linear regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, smoking and body mass index to investigate relationships between pre-treatment white blood cell (WBC) levels and clinical global impression scale (CGI) response.
Compared to participants with WBC counts of 4.5–10 × 109/l, participants with WBC < 4.5 or WBC ≥ 10 showed similar improvement within each specific treatment arm and in gender-stratified analyses.
An overall immune system marker did not predict differential treatment response to four different treatment approaches for bipolar disorder all lasting 24 weeks.
For patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) experiencing side-effects or non-response to their first antidepressant, little is known regarding the effect of switching between a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
To compare the switch between the TCA nortriptyline and the SSRI escitalopram.
Among 811 adults with MDD treated with nortriptyline or escitalopram for up to 12 weeks, 108 individuals switched from nortriptyline to escitalopram or vice versa because of side-effects or non-response (trial registration: EudraCT No.2004-001723-38 (https://eudract.ema.europa.eu/) and ISRCTN No.03693000 (http://www.controlled-trials.com)). Patients were followed for up to 26 weeks after switching and response was measured with the Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating scale (MADRS). We performed adjusted mixed-effects linear regression models with full information maximum likelihood estimation reporting β-coefficients with 95% CIs.
Switching antidepressants resulted in a significant decrease in MADRS scores. This was present for switchers from escitalopram to nortriptyline (n = 36, β = −0.38, 95% CI −0.51 to −0.25, P<0.001) and from nortriptyline to escitalopram (n = 72, β = −0.34, 95% CI −0.41 to −0.26, P<0.001). Both switching options resulted in significant improvement among individuals who switched because of non-response or side-effects. The results were supported by analyses on other rating scales and symptom dimensions.
These results suggest that switching from a TCA to an SSRI or vice versa after non-response or side-effects to the first antidepressant may be a viable approach to achieve response among patients with MDD.
Declarations of interest
K.J.A. holds an Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental Health Research Chair, funded by the Government of Alberta. K.J.A. has been a member of various advisory boards, received consultancy fees and honoraria, and has received research grants from various companies including Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals Research and Development and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Limited. D.S. has served on advisory boards for, and received unrestricted grants from, Lundbeck and AstraZeneca. A.F. and P.M. have received honoraria for participating in expert panels for Lundbeck and GlaxoSmithKline.
Immunological theories, particularly the sickness syndrome theory, may explain psychopathology in mood disorders. However, no clinical trials have investigated the association between overall immune system markers with a wide range of specific symptoms including potential gender differences.
We included two similar clinical trials, the lithium treatment moderate-dose use study and clinical and health outcomes initiatives in comparative effectiveness for bipolar disorder study, enrolling 765 participants with bipolar disorder. At study entry, white blood cell (WBC) count was measured and psychopathology assessed with the Montgomery and Aasberg depression rating scale (MADRS). We performed analysis of variance and linear regression analyses to investigate the relationship between the deviation from the median WBC, and multinomial regression analysis between different WBC levels. All analyses were performed gender-specific and adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, race, and somatic diseases.
The overall MADRS score increased significantly for each 1.0×109/l deviation from the median WBC among 322 men (coefficient=1.10; 95% CI=0.32–1.89; p=0.006), but not among 443 women (coefficient=0.56; 95% CI=−0.19–1.31; p=0.14). Among men, WBC deviations were associated with increased severity of sadness, inner tension, reduced sleep, reduced appetite, concentration difficulties, inability to feel, and suicidal thoughts. Among women, WBC deviations were associated with increased severity of reduced appetite, concentration difficulties, lassitude, inability to feel, and pessimistic thoughts. Both higher and lower WBC levels were associated with increased severity of several specific symptoms.
Immune system alterations were associated with increased severity of specific mood symptoms, particularly among men. Our results support the sickness syndrome theory, but furthermore emphasise the relevance to study immune suppression in bipolar disorder. Due to the explorative nature and cross-sectional design, future studies need to confirm these findings.
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