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CLINICAL SYNTHESIS   |    
Psychopharmacologic Treatment of Depression in Patients With Cancer: A 2013 Update
Thomas B. Strouse, M.D.
FOCUS 2013;11:450-459. doi:10.1176/appi.focus.11.4.450
View Author and Article Information

Author Information and CME Disclosure

Thomas B. Strouse, M.D., Maddie Katz Professor, Medical Director, Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs, UCLA DGSOM Department of Psychiatry, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Strouse reports no competing interests.

Address correspondence to Thomas B. Strouse, M.D., UCLA DGSOM Department of Psychiatry, 757 Westwood Plaza Room 4230B, Los Angeles, CA 90095; email: TStrouse@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

Depression is highly comorbid with various malignancies, and when present often increases suffering, decreases medical adherence, and can be associated with worse clinical outcomes. High-quality meta-analysis suggests a prevalence rate of major depression in cancer patients of around 16%; men and women are equally afflicted. Widely available screening instruments such as the PHQ-9 have demonstrated reliability in both detecting depression symptoms and measuring response to therapy in cancer patients. Certain cancers and some cancer treatments seem to confer increased risk for new-onset or recurrent depression, and there is a wide range of contemporary antidepressant medications, as well as older agents, that can be helpful. Under some circumstances, novel treatments may also have a role.

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Table 1.Risk Factors for Depression in Cancer Patients
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Table 2.Antidepressants Available in the United States, 2013
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