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More than 50% patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have severe functional impairment. The restoration of patient functioning is a critical therapeutic goal among patients with MDD. We conducted a systematic review and network meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacological treatments on self-rated functional outcomes using the Sheehan Disability Scale in adults with MDD in randomized clinical trials.
PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched from inception to December 10, 2019. Summary statistics are reported as weighted mean differences with 95% confidence intervals. Interventions were ranked using the surface under the cumulative ranking probabilities.
We included 42 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 18 998) evaluating the efficacy of 13 different pharmacological treatments on functional outcomes, as measured by the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Duloxetine was the most effective pharmacological agent on functional outcomes, followed by (ranked by efficacy): paroxetine, levomilnacipran, venlafaxine, quetiapine, desvenlafaxine, agomelatine, escitalopram, amitriptyline, bupropion, sertraline, vortioxetine, and fluoxetine. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors were more effective than other drug classes. Additionally, the comparison-adjusted funnel plot suggested the publication bias between small and large studies was relatively low.
Our results indicate that there may be differences across antidepressant agents and classes with respect to self-reported functional outcomes. Validation and replication of these findings in large-scale RCTs are warranted. Our research results will be clinically useful for guiding psychiatrists in treating patients with MDD and functional impairment. PROSPERO registration number CRD42018116663.
Cognitive impairment is common in bipolar disorder and is emerging as a therapeutic target to enhance quality of life and function. A systematic search was conducted on PubMed, PsycInfo, Cochrane, clinicaltrials.gov, and Embase databases for blinded or open-label randomized controlled trials evaluating the pro-cognitive effects of pharmacological, neurostimulation, or psychological interventions for bipolar disorder. Twenty-two trials were identified, evaluating a total of 16 different pro-cognitive interventions. The methodological quality of the identified trials were assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Currently, no intervention (i.e., pharmacologic, neurostimulation, cognitive remediation) has demonstrated robust and independent pro-cognitive effects in adults with bipolar disorder. Findings are preliminary and methodological limitations limit the interpretation of results. Methodological considerations including, but not limited to, the enrichment with populations with pre-treatment cognitive impairment, as well as the inclusion of individuals who are in remission are encouraged. Future trials may also consider targeting interventions to specific cognitive subgroups and the use of biomarkers of cognitive function.
Benzodiazepine (BZD) prescription rates have increased over the past decade in the United States. Available literature indicates that sociodemographic factors may influence diagnostic patterns and/or prescription behaviour. Herein, the aim of this study is to determine whether the gender of the prescriber and/or patient influences BZD prescription.
Cross-sectional study using data from the Florida Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance Program from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Eligible recipients ages 18 to 64, inclusive, enrolled in the Florida Medicaid plan for at least 1 day, and were dually eligible. Recipients either had a serious mental illness (SMI), or non-SMI and anxiety.
Total 125 463 cases were identified (i.e., received BZD or non-BZD prescription). Main effect of patient and prescriber gender was significant F(1, 125 459) = 0.105, P = 0 .745, partial η2 < 0.001. Relative risk (RR) of male prescribers prescribing a BZD compared to female prescribers was 1.540, 95% confidence intervals (CI) [1.513, 1.567], whereas the RR of male patients being prescribed a BZD compared to female patients was 1.16, 95% CI [1.14, 1.18]. Main effects of patient and prescriber gender were statistically significant F(1, 125 459) = 188.232, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.001 and F(1, 125 459) = 349.704, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.013, respectively.
Male prescribers are more likely to prescribe BZDs, and male patients are more likely to receive BZDs. Further studies are required to characterize factors that influence this gender-by-gender interaction.
Patients unsuccessfully treated by neurostimulation may represent a highly intractable subgroup of depression. While the efficacy of intravenous (IV) ketamine has been established in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), there is an interest to evaluate its effectiveness in a subpopulation with a history of neurostimulation.
This retrospective, posthoc analysis compared the effects of four infusions of IV ketamine in 135 (x̄ = 44 ± 15.4 years of age) neurostimulation-naïve patients to 103 (x̄ = 47 ± 13.9 years of age) patients with a history of neurostimulation. The primary outcome evaluated changes in depression severity, measured by the Quick Inventory for Depression Symptomatology-Self Report 16-Item (QIDS-SR16). Secondary outcomes evaluated suicidal ideation (SI), anxiety severity, measured by the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7), and consummatory anhedonia, measured by the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS).
Following four infusions, both cohorts reported a significant reduction in QIDS-SR16 Total Score (F (4, 648) = 73.4, P < .001), SI (F (4, 642) = 28.6, P < .001), GAD-7 (F (2, 265) = 53.8, P < .001), and SHAPS (F (2, 302) = 45.9, P < .001). No between-group differences emerged. Overall, the neurostimulation-naïve group had a mean reduction in QIDS-SR16 Total Score of 6.4 (standard deviation [SD] = 5.3), whereas the history of neurostimulation patients reported a 4.3 (SD = 5.3) point reduction.
IV ketamine was effective in reducing symptoms of depression, SI, anxiety, and anhedonia in both cohorts in this large, well-characterized community-based sample of adults with TRD.
Higher body mass index (BMI) has been found to predict greater antidepressant response to intravenous (IV) ketamine treatment. We evaluated the association between BMI and response to repeat-dose IV ketamine in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
Adults (N = 230) with TRD received four infusions of IV ketamine at a community-based clinic. Changes in symptoms of depression (ie, Quick Inventory for Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report 16; QIDS-SR16), suicidal ideation (SI; ie, QIDS-SR16 SI item), anxiety (ie, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale), anhedonic severity (ie, Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale), and functioning (ie, Sheehan Disability Scale) following infusions were evaluated. Participants were stratified by BMI as normal (18.0-24.9 kg/m2; n = 72), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2; n = 76), obese I (30-34.9 kg/m2; n = 47), or obese II (≥35.0 kg/m2; n = 35).
Similar antidepressant effects with repeat-dose ketamine were reported between BMI groups (P = .261). In addition, categorical partial response (P = .149), response (P = .526), and remission (P = .232) rates were similar between the four BMI groups.
The findings are limited by the observational, open-label design of this retrospective analysis. Pretreatment BMI did not predict response to IV ketamine, which was effective regardless of BMI.
Cognitive dysfunction is a symptomatic domain identified across many mental disorders. Cognitive deficits in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) contribute significantly to occupational and functional disability. Notably, cognitive subdomains such as learning and memory, executive functioning, processing speed, and attention and concentration are significantly impaired during, and between, episodes in individuals with MDD. Most antidepressants have not been developed and/or evaluated for their ability to directly and independently ameliorate cognitive deficits. Multiple interacting neurobiological mechanisms (eg, neuroinflammation) are implicated as subserving cognitive deficits in MDD. A testable hypothesis, with preliminary support, posits that improving performance across cognitive domains in individuals with MDD may improve psychosocial function, workplace function, quality of life, and other patient-reported outcomes, independent of effects on core mood symptoms. Herein we aim to (1) provide a rationale for prioritizing cognitive deficits as a therapeutic target, (2) briefly discuss the neurobiological substrates subserving cognitive dysfunction, and (3) provide an update on current and future treatment avenues.
A significant minority of people presenting with a major depressive episode (MDE) experience co-occurring subsyndromal hypo/manic symptoms. As this presentation may have important prognostic and treatment implications, the DSM–5 codified a new nosological entity, the “mixed features specifier,” referring to individuals meeting threshold criteria for an MDE and subthreshold symptoms of (hypo)mania or to individuals with syndromal mania and subthreshold depressive symptoms. The mixed features specifier adds to a growing list of monikers that have been put forward to describe phenotypes characterized by the admixture of depressive and hypomanic symptoms (e.g., mixed depression, depression with mixed features, or depressive mixed states [DMX]). Current treatment guidelines, regulatory approvals, as well the current evidentiary base provide insufficient decision support to practitioners who provide care to individuals presenting with an MDE with mixed features. In addition, all existing psychotropic agents evaluated in mixed patients have largely been confined to patient populations meeting the DSM–IV definition of “mixed states” wherein the co-occurrence of threshold-level mania and threshold-level MDE was required. Toward the aim of assisting clinicians providing care to adults with MDE and mixed features, we have assembled a panel of experts on mood disorders to develop these guidelines on the recognition and treatment of mixed depression, based on the few studies that have focused specifically on DMX as well as decades of cumulated clinical experience.
Mixed features specifier (MFS) is a new nosological entity defined and operationalized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), 5th Edition. The impetus to introduce the MFS and supplant mixed states was protean, including the lack of ecological validity, high rates of misdiagnosis, and guideline discordant treatment for mixed states. Mixed features specifier identifies a phenotype in psychiatry with greater illness burden, as evidenced by earlier age at onset, higher episode frequency and chronicity, psychiatric and medical comorbidity, suicidality, and suboptimal response to conventional antidepressants. Mixed features in psychiatry have historical, conceptual, and nosological relevance; MFS according to DSM-5, is inherently neo-Kraepelinian insofar as individuals with either Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Bipolar Disorder (BD) may be affected by MFS. Clinicians are encouraged to screen all patients presenting with a major depressive episode (or hypomanic episode) for MFS. Although “overlapping symptoms” were excluded from the diagnostic criteria (eg, agitation, anxiety, irritability, insomnia), clinicians are encouraged to probe for these nonspecific symptoms as a possible proxy of co-existing MFS. In addition to conventional antidepressants, second generation antipsychotics and/or conventional mood stabilizers (eg, lithium) may be considered as first-line therapies for individuals with a depressive episode as part of MDD or BD with mixed features.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in major depressive disorder (MDD) and a critical determinant of health outcome. Anhedonia is a criterion item toward the diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) and a well-characterized domain in MDD. We sought to determine the extent to which variability in self-reported cognitive function correlates with anhedonia.
A post hoc analysis was conducted using data from (N=369) participants with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)-defined diagnosis of MDD who were enrolled in the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project (IMDCP) between January 2008 and July 2013. The IMDCP is a collaborative research platform at the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Measures of cognitive function, anhedonia, and depression severity were analyzed using linear regression equations.
A total of 369 adults with DSM-IV-TR–defined MDD were included in this analysis. Self-rated cognitive impairment [ie, as measured by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)] was significantly correlated with a proxy measure of anhedonia (r=0.131, p=0.012). Moreover, total depression symptom severity, as measured by the total Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, was also significantly correlated with self-rated measures of cognitive dysfunction (r=0.147, p=0.005). The association between anhedonia and self-rated cognitive dysfunction remained significant after adjusting for illness severity (r=0.162, p=0.007).
These preliminary results provide empirical data for the testable hypothesis that anhedonia and self-reported cognitive function in MDD are correlated yet dissociable domains. The foregoing observation supports the hypothesis of overlapping yet discrete neurobiological substrates for these domains.
Treating to target in chronic diseases [e.g. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)] fosters precision, consistency, and appropriateness of treatment selection and sequencing. Therapeutic target definitions/endpoints in MDD should satisfy patient-, provider-, and societal expectations. Functional recovery in depression and return to both physical and mental health are the overarching therapeutic objectives. Treating to target in MDD implies multidimensional symptomatic remission, with a particular emphasis on cognitive function and aspects of positive mental health. Several atypical antipsychotic agents (i.e. brexpiprazole, aripiprazole, quetiapine) are FDA-approved as augmentation agents in MDD. Vortioxetine, duloxetine, and psychostimulants have evidence of independent, direct, and robust effects on cognitive function in MDD. Vortioxetine is the only agent that demonstrates efficacy across multiple cognitive domains in MDD associated with functional recovery. Measurement-based care, health information technology/systems, and integrated care models (e.g. medical homes) provide requisite tools and health environments for optimal health outcomes in MDD. Achieving remission in MDD does not equate to health. Return to positive mental health as well as full functioning provide the impetus to pivot away from traditional provider-defined outcomes toward an inclusive perspective involving patient- and society-defined outcomes (i.e. optimization of human capital). As in other chronic diseases, treating to target (e.g. cognitive function) further increases the probability of achieving optimal health outcomes.
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