Despite the availability of newer medications to treat people with depression, experts writing in a medical journal say that better medicines are still needed.
“Major depression remains a field where pharmacotherapeutic development has been significant in the sense that there has been a steady stream of new agents. However, despite the availability of drug combinations to reinforce the actions of antidepressants, of psychotherapeutic interventions like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and, for severe cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy, more efficacious and rapidly-acting antidepressants are still urgently needed,” noted Mark J Millan and his co-authors, in the latest edition (May 2015) of the medical journal, European Neuropsychopharmacology.
Indeed, although newer drugs, such as the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and the SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), may offer increased patient compliance because they are better tolerated, their efficacy does not surpass the efficacy of some older drugs, such as clomipramine, noted Professor Francesc Artigas of the Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques de Barcelona, who was also writing in European Neuropsychopharmacology.
Clinical trials show that the typical depression remission rate with standard antidepressant drug is only about 40%. This indicates that a large percentage of major depressive patients are not effectively treated with these medications.
Major depression is a severe psychiatric disorder that has a very high economic impact on society. The high cost of major depression can be attributed to its large incidence in the general population, where about 1 in 5 individuals will suffer from major depression during his/her lifetime.
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