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Antipsychotics are widely used in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), but there has been no comprehensive meta-analytic assessment that examined their use as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy.
A systematic review and a meta-analysis were conducted on randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) that reported on the efficacy and safety/tolerability of antipsychotics for the treatment of adults with MDD. Data of both monotherapy and adjunctive antipsychotic use were extracted, but analyzed separately using a random-effects model. Co-primary outcomes were study-defined-treatment response and intolerability-related discontinuation. We also illustrated the risk/benefit balance of antipsychotics for MDD, using two-dimensional graphs representing the primary efficacy and safety/tolerability outcome. Secondary outcomes included psychopathology, remission, all-cause-discontinuation, inefficacy-related discontinuation, and adverse events.
Forty-five RCTs with 12 724 patients were included in the analysis. In monotherapy (studies = 13, n = 4375), amisulpride [1.99 (1.55–2.55)], sulpiride [1.50 (1.03–2.17)], and quetiapine [1.48 (1.23–1.78)] were significantly superior to placebo regarding treatment response. However, intolerability-related discontinuations were significantly higher compared to placebo with amisulpride and quetiapine. In adjunctive therapy (studies = 32, n = 8349), ziprasidone [1.80 (1.07–3.04)], risperidone [1.59 (1.19–2.14)], aripiprazole [1.54 (1.35–1.76)], brexpiprazole [1.41 (1.21–1.66)], cariprazine [1.27 (1.07–1.52)], and quetiapine [1.23 (1.08–1.41)] were significantly superior to placebo regarding treatment response. However, of these antipsychotics that were superior to placebo, only risperidone was equivalent to placebo regarding discontinuation due to intolerability, while the other antipsychotics were inferior.
Results suggest that there are significant differences regarding the risk/benefit ratio among antipsychotics for MDD, which should inform clinical care.
Clinical practice guidelines for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder have been published. However, these have not had sufficient penetration in clinical settings. We developed the Effectiveness of Guidelines for Dissemination and Education in Psychiatric Treatment (EGUIDE) project as a dissemination and education programme for psychiatrists.
The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the EGUIDE project on the subjective clinical behaviour of psychiatrists in accordance with clinical practice guidelines before and 1 and 2 years after participation in the programmes.
A total of 607 psychiatrists participated in this study during October 2016 and March 2019. They attended both 1-day educational programmes based on the clinical practice guidelines for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and answered web questionnaires about their clinical behaviours before and 1 and 2 years after attending the programmes. We evaluated the changes in clinical behaviours in accordance with the clinical practice guidelines between before and 2 years after the programme.
All of the scores for clinical behaviours in accordance with clinical practice guidelines were significantly improved after 1 and 2 years compared with before attending the programmes. There were no significant changes in any of the scores between 1 and 2 years after attending.
All clinical behaviours in accordance with clinical practice guidelines improved after attending the EGUIDE programme, and were maintained for at least 2 years. The EGUIDE project could contribute to improved guideline-based clinical behaviour among psychiatrists.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine as a way to reduce COVID-19 infections was noted and consequently deregulated. However, the degree of telemedicine regulation varies from country to country, which may alter the widespread use of telemedicine. This study aimed to clarify the telepsychiatry regulations for each collaborating country/region before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We used snowball sampling within a global network of international telepsychiatry experts. Thirty collaborators from 17 different countries/regions responded to a questionnaire on barriers to the use and implementation of telepsychiatric care, including policy factors such as regulations and reimbursement at the end of 2019 and as of May 2020.
Thirteen of 17 regions reported a relaxation of regulations due to the pandemic; consequently, all regions surveyed stated that telepsychiatry was now possible within their public healthcare systems. In some regions, restrictions on prescription medications allowed via telepsychiatry were eased, but in 11 of the 17 regions, there were still restrictions on prescribing medications via telepsychiatry. Lower insurance reimbursement amounts for telepsychiatry consultations v. in-person consultations were reevaluated in four regions, and consequently, in 15 regions telepsychiatry services were reimbursed at the same rate (or higher) than in-person consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our results confirm that, due to COVID-19, the majority of countries surveyed are altering telemedicine regulations that had previously restricted the spread of telemedicine. These findings provide information that could guide future policy and regulatory decisions, which facilitate greater scale and spread of telepsychiatry globally.
Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is currently being used to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD); however, VRET's magnitude of efficacy, duration of efficacy, and impact on treatment discontinuation are still unclear.
We conducted a meta-analysis of studies that investigated the efficacy of VRET for SAD. The search strategy and analysis method are registered at PROSPERO (#CRD42019121097). Inclusion criteria were: (1) studies that targeted patients with SAD or related phobias; (2) studies where VRET was conducted for at least three sessions; (3) studies that included at least 10 participants. The primary outcome was social anxiety evaluation score change. Hedges' g and its 95% confidence intervals were calculated using random-effect models. The secondary outcome was the risk ratio for treatment discontinuation.
Twenty-two studies (n = 703) met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. The efficacy of VRET for SAD was significant and continued over a long-term follow-up period: Hedges' g for effect size at post-intervention, −0.86 (−1.04 to −0.68); three months post-intervention, −1.03 (−1.35 to −0.72); 6 months post-intervention, −1.14 (−1.39 to −0.89); and 12 months post-intervention, −0.74 (−1.05 to −0.43). When compared to in vivo exposure, the efficacy of VRET was similar at post-intervention but became inferior at later follow-up points. Participant dropout rates showed no significant difference compared to in vivo exposure.
VRET is an acceptable treatment for SAD patients that has significant, long-lasting efficacy, although it is possible that during long-term follow-up, VRET efficacy lessens as compared to in vivo exposure.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective antidepressant treatment for severe depression. Although recent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have consistently reported ECT-induced hippocampal volume increases, most studies did not find the association of the hippocampal volume changes with clinical improvement. To understand the underlying mechanisms of ECT action, we aimed to identify the longitudinal effects of ECT on hippocampal functional connectivity (FC) and their associations with clinical improvement.
Resting-state functional MRI was acquired before and after bilateral ECT in 27 depressed individuals. A priori hippocampal seed-based FC analysis and a data-driven multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) were conducted to investigate FC changes associated with clinical improvement. The statistical threshold was set at cluster-level false discovery rate-corrected p < 0.05.
Depressive symptom improvement after ECT was positively associated with the change in the right hippocampus-ventromedial prefrontal cortex FC, and negatively associated with the right hippocampus-superior frontal gyrus FC. MVPA confirmed the results of hippocampal seed-based analyses and identified the following additional clusters associated with clinical improvement following ECT: the thalamus, the sensorimotor cortex, and the precuneus.
ECT-induced change in the right frontotemporal connectivity and thalamocortical connectivity, and changes in the nodes of the default mode network were associated with clinical improvement. Modulation of these networks may explain the underlying mechanisms by which ECT exert its potent and rapid antidepressant effect.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most effective treatments for depression, although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Animal studies have shown that electroconvulsive shock induced neuroplastic changes in the hippocampus.
To summarise volumetric magnetic resonance imaging studies investigating the effects of ECT on limbic brain structures.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to assess volumetric changes of each side of the hippocampus and amygdala before and after ECT. Standardised mean difference (SMD) was calculated.
A total of 8 studies (n = 193) were selected for our analyses. Both right and left hippocampal and amygdala volumes increased after ECT. Meta-regression analyses revealed that age, percentage of those responding and percentage of those in remission were negatively associated with volume increases in the left hippocampus.
ECT increased brain volume in the limbic structures. The clinical relevance of volume increase needs further investigation.
Declaration of interest
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