Objectives: A significant number of depressed individuals experience inadequate benefit from long-term antidepressant use. This paper investigates the hypothesis that in some individuals persistent use of antidepressants may be prodepressant.
Methods: Literature regarding the effect of long-term use of antidepressants was reviewed by searching PubMed and Ovid data bases with terms: antidepressant tachyphylaxis, treatment-resistant depression, chronic depression and antidepressant tolerance.
Results: Antidepressant treatment-resistant patients frequently had a positive initial response to antidepressants. When resistance appeared, initial increases in dose or medication changes usually resulted in transient improvement. Eventually, the episodic course of the original depressive illness was replaced with a continuous, unresponsive depressive syndrome. We propose the term tardive dysphoria to describe this phenomenon.
Conclusions: The phenomenon of antidepressantinduced depression, or tardive dysphoria, needs to be experimentally examined in blinded, randomised antidepressant discontinuation studies.