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Diagnostic criteria are not always useful to discriminate major depression with anxious distress (ADS-D; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, version-5 [DSM-5] criteria) from mixed depression (Koukopoulos’ criteria; KMX-D). So, clinicians need alternative tools to improve their diagnostic ability and to choose the most appropriate treatment. The aim of the present study is to identify socio-demographic and clinical features that discriminate patients with ADS-D from those with KMX-D.
Two hundred and forty-one consecutive outpatients with unipolar (51%) and bipolar (49%) disorder, fulfilling DSM-5 criteria for a current major depressive episode (MDE) and with a 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score ≥ 14, were recruited and treated in a prospective observational study.
Ten percent of patients met criteria for KMX-D, 22% ADS-D, and 37% for both. Irritable premorbid temperament, mixed depression polarity at onset, mixed depression recurrence, and a high number of mania symptoms at intake were typical features of patients with KMX-D. Depressive polarity at onset, a low number of mania symptoms at intake, and generalized anxiety disorder comorbidity were typical features of patients with ADS-D. Multinomial logistic regression confirmed that higher rate of irritable temperament and higher Young Mania Rating Scale total score differentiated patients with KMX-D from patients with pure MDE.
Our findings suggest some clinical features that could help differentiate between ADS-D and KMX-D in patients meeting both conditions and to select the appropriate treatment. However, the small sample size may have limited the power to detect differences between the groups. Further research is needed to confirm the results of present study.
Highlighting the relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD), two highly disabling, comorbid, and difficult-to-treat conditions, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) acknowledged a new “tic-related” specifier for OCD, ie, obsessive–compulsive tic-related disorder (OCTD). As patients with OCTD may frequently show poor treatment response, the aim of this multicenter study was to investigate rates and clinical correlates of response, remission, and treatment resistance in a large multicenter sample of OCD patients with versus without tics.
A sample of 398 patients with a DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD with and without comorbid TD was assessed from 10 different psychiatric departments across Italy. For the purpose of the study, treatment response profiles in the whole sample were analyzed comparing the rates of response, remission, and treatment-resistance as well as related clinical features. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify possible factors associated with treatment response.
The remission group was associated with later ages of onset of TD and OCD. Moreover, significantly higher rates of psychiatric comorbidities, TD, and lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts emerged in the treatment-resistant group, with larger degrees of perceived worsened quality of life and family involvement.
Although remission was associated with later ages of OCD and TD onset, specific clinical factors, such as early onset and presence of psychiatric comorbidities and concomitant TD, predicted a worse treatment response with a significant impairment in quality of life for both patients and their caregivers, suggesting a worse profile of treatment response for patients with OCTD.
To identify demographic and clinical characteristics of bipolar depressed patients who require antidepressant (AD) augmentation, and to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness and safety of this therapeutic strategy.
One hundred twenty-two bipolar depressed patients were consecutively recruited, 71.7% of them received mood stabilizers (MS)/second-generation antipsychotics (SGA) with AD-augmentation and 28.3% did not. Patients were evaluated at baseline, and after 12 weeks and 15 months of treatment.
The AD-augmentation was significantly higher in patients with bipolar II compared with bipolar I diagnosis. Patients with MS/SGA + AD had often a seasonal pattern, depressive polarity onset, depressive index episode with anxious features, a low number of previous psychotic and (hypo)manic episodes and of switch. They had a low irritable premorbid temperament, a low risk of suicide attempts, and a low number of manic symptoms at baseline. After 12 weeks of treatment, 82% of patients receiving ADs improved, 58% responded and 51% remitted, 3.8% had suicidal thoughts or projects, 6.1% had (hypo)manic switch, and 4.1% needed hospitalization. During the following 12 months, 92% of them remitted from index episode, 25.5% did not relapse, and 11% needed hospitalization. Although at the start advantaged, patients with AD-augmentation, compared with those without AD-augmentation, did not significantly differ on any outcome as well on adverse events in the short- and long-term treatment.
Our findings indicate that ADs, combined with MS and/or SGA, are short and long term effective and safe in a specific subgroup for bipolar depressed patients.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD) represent highly disabling, chronic and often comorbid psychiatric conditions. While recent studies showed a high risk of suicide for patients with OCD, little is known about those patients with comorbid TD (OCTD). Aim of this study was to characterize suicidal behaviors among patients with OCD and OCTD.
Three hundred and thirteen outpatients with OCD (n = 157) and OCTD (n = 156) were recruited from nine different psychiatric Italian departments and assessed using an ad-hoc developed questionnaire investigating, among other domains, suicide attempt (SA) and ideation (SI). The sample was divided into four subgroups: OCD with SA (OCD-SA), OCD without SA (OCD-noSA), OCTD with SA (OCTD-SA), and OCTD without SA (OCTD-noSA).
No differences between groups were found in terms of SI, while SA rates were significantly higher in patients with OCTD compared to patients with OCD. OCTD-SA group showed a significant male prevalence and higher unemployment rates compared to OCD-SA and OCD-noSA sample. Both OCTD-groups showed an earlier age of psychiatric comorbidity onset (other than TD) compared to the OCD-SA sample. Moreover, patients with OCTD-SA showed higher rates of other psychiatric comorbidities and positive psychiatric family history compared to the OCD-SA group and to the OCD-noSA groups. OCTD-SA and OCD-SA samples showed higher rates of antipsychotics therapies and treatment resistance compared to OCD-noSA groups.
Patients with OCTD vs with OCD showed a significantly higher rate of SA with no differences in SI. In particular, OCTD-SA group showed different unfavorable epidemiological and clinical features which need to be confirmed in future prospective studies.
Epidemiological, clinical, and treatment response characteristics of major depression with anxious distress (ADS) are quite similar to those of mixed depression, but no study investigated the symptom interplay of these conditions.
To analyze the correlations among symptom criteria for major depression with ADS and for mixed depression using a network analysis.
Two hundred and forty-one outpatients with major depression were consecutively recruited. DSM-5 criteria for major depression with ADS or with mixed features (MF) and Koukopoulos’ criteria for mixed depression (MXD) were assessed using a structured clinical interview.
A total of 58.9% of patients met DSM-5 criteria for major depression with ADS, 48.5% for MXD, and 2.5% for major depression with MF, so that the symptoms of this specifier were excluded from the network analysis. The most frequent symptoms were difficulty concentrating due to worries (57.7%), feeling keyed up or on edge (51%) (major depression with ADS), and psychic agitation or inner tension (51%) (MXD). Psychic agitation or inner tension had a central position in the network and bridged MXD to major depression with ADS through feeling keyed up or on edge.
Criteria for major depression with ADS and for MXD are partially overlapping, with psychic agitation or inner tension and feeling keyed up or on edge that feature in both conditions and are difficult to distinguish in clinical practice. The clarification of the relationship between these two psychopathological conditions could bring important implications for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of depressive episodes.
Evidence from the literature suggests that, on average, 27% of patients with a bipolar disorder (BD) experience a continuous cycling course (CCC) and that this subgroup differs significantly from patients with a noncontinuous cycling course (N-CCC) with respect to sociodemographic characteristics and clinical presentation. The aim of the present paper is to review the studies that evaluated short- and long-term treatment responses in BD patients with CCC. The retrieved studies indicate that CCC is a significant predictor of poor response to long-term treatment with lithium (the odds of a response in the CCC group were 57% less than in the N-CCC group; p<0.01), as well as to polytherapies including lithium and/or an antiepileptic augmented, when necessary, with an antipsychotic and/or antidepressant. The percentage of patients without new episodes during follow-up was significantly lower in the CCC group compared with the N-CCC group (15.4 vs. 37.6% , p<0.01). Compared with patients in the N-CCC group, members of the CCC group had a poorer response and lower remission rates after 12-week antidepressant treatments for a major depressive episode (82.3 vs. 50%, p =0.002; 69.6 vs. 40.9%, p=0.013). These findings, underlining that CCC is a predictor of poor response to short- and long-term treatment in BD, should be interpreted considering the limitations of the reviewed studies (the small sample sizes, the small number of trials and their observational nature, the lack of randomization or placebo controls, and the unblinded nature of the outcomes). Clinical trials and observational studies with larger samples are warranted to confirm the conclusions of our review.
Objective: Although depressive symptoms are preponderant in the course of bipolar (BP) disorders, the treatment of BP depression remains a controversial issue with different clinical approaches available. This review addresses the issues of whether antidepressants (ADs) are effective in treating acute and long-term BP depression, risks linked to ADs and what alternatives to ADs are available.
Methods: We searched the MEDLINE databases using the following syntax: [bipolar depression AND unipolar depression AND (antidepressants OR anticonvulsants OR lithium OR antipsychotics OR dopamine-agonists OR psychoeducation OR psychotherapy OR electroconvulsive therapy OR transcranial magnetic stimulation)]. The search included studies published up to 31 May 2009 and conducted on adults.
Results: In the acute treatment of BP depression ADs are effective with no differences among drug classes. However, neither the switch into (hypo)mania induction rate nor the suicide risk linked to AD use are definitely established. The effectiveness of long-term AD use is limited to highly selected samples of patients with positive acute response. The risk of long-term ADs causing cycle acceleration and rapid cycling induction concerns a subpopulation of patients. Valid alternatives to ADs in treating acute BP depression are quetiapine, an olanzapine–fluoxetine combination, and electroconvulsive therapy for more severe patients. Lamotrigine is effective and safe in preventing depressive relapses. Psychotherapy and psychoeducation represent effective adjunctive treatments.
Conclusion: In the treatment of BP depression there is not a specific effective treatment for all the patients. Interventions should therefore be personalised and the scientific evidence should be adapted to each patient's clinical features.
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