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Abstracts For Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide
FOCUS 2008;6:63-68.
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March JS, Silva S, Petrycki S, Curry J, Wells K, Fairbank J, Burns B, Domino M, McNulty S, Vitiello B, Severe J

Archives of General Psychiatry200710; 64( 10): 1132— 43

Context: The Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study evaluates the effectiveness of fluoxetine hydrochloride therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and their combination in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Objective: To report effectiveness outcomes across 36 weeks of randomized treatment. Design and Setting: Randomized, controlled trial conducted in 13 academic and community sites in the United States. Cognitive behavior and combination therapies were not masked, whereas administration of placebo and fluoxetine was double-blind through 12 weeks, after which treatments were unblinded. Patients assigned to placebo were treated openly after week 12, and the placebo group is not included in these analyses by design. Participants: Three hundred twenty-seven patients aged 12 to 17 years with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Interventions: All treatments were administered per protocol. Main Outcome Measures: The primary dependent measures rated blind to treatment status by an independent evaluator were the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised total score and the response rate, defined as a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement score of much or very much improved. Results: Intention-to-treat analyses on the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised identified a significant time × treatment interaction (P < .001). Rates of response were 73% for combination therapy, 62% for fluoxetine therapy, and 48% for CBT at week 12; 85% for combination therapy, 69% for fluoxetine therapy, and 65% for CBT at week 18; and 86% for combination therapy, 81% for fluoxetine therapy, and 81% for CBT at week 36. Suicidal ideation decreased with treatment, but less so with fluoxetine therapy than with combination therapy or CBT. Suicidal events were more common in patients receiving fluoxetine therapy (14.7%) than combination therapy (8.4%) or CBT (6.3%). Conclusions: In adolescents with moderate to severe depression, treatment with fluoxetine alone or in combination with CBT accelerates the response. Adding CBT to medication enhances the safety of medication. Taking benefits and harms into account, combined treatment appears superior to either monotherapy as a treatment for major depression in adolescents.

Irwin MR

Brain Behav Immun2007930 [Epub ahead of print]

An important component of psychoneuroimmunology research is to reveal the myriad ways that behaviors and health are inter-related, with a focus on the immunological mechanisms that underlie these interactions. Research in human psychoneuroimmunology has shown that immunoregulatory processes are an integral part of a complex network of adaptive responses. As such, this review provides a perspective from our laboratory over the last 20 years to define the inter-relationships between behavior and immunity; to identify the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) and autonomic mechanisms that link the central nervous system and immune responses; to examine the clinical implications of immune alterations during depression or life stress on inflammatory and infectious disease risk; and to explore the reciprocal role of immune mediators on behavior in humans.

Lespérance F, Frasure-Smith N, Koszycki D, Laliberté MA, van Zyl LT, Baker B, Swenson JR, Ghatavi K, Abramson BL, Dorian P, Guertin MC; CREATE Investigators

The Journal of American Medical Association. 2007124; 297( 4): 367— 79

Context: Few randomized controlled trials have evaluated the efficacy of treatments for major depression in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). None have simultaneously evaluated an antidepressant and short-term psychotherapy. Objective: To document the short-term efficacy of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (citalopram) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with CAD and major depression. Design, Setting, and Participants: The Canadian Cardiac Randomized Evaluation of Antidepressant and Psychotherapy Efficacy, a randomized, controlled, 12-week, parallel-group, 2 × 2 factorial trial conducted May 1, 2002, to March 20, 2006, among 284 patients with CAD from 9 Canadian academic centers. All patients met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for diagnosis of major depression of 4 weeks' duration or longer and had baseline 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) scores of 20 or higher. Interventions: Participants underwent 2 separate randomizations: (1) to receive 12 weekly sessions of IPT plus clinical management (n = 142) or clinical management only (n = 142) and (2) to receive 12 weeks of citalopram, 20 to 40 mg/d (n = 142), or matching placebo (n = 142). Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was change between baseline and 12 weeks on the 24-item HAM-D, administered blindly during centralized telephone interviews (tested at alpha = .033); the secondary outcome measure was self-reported Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) score (tested at alpha = .017). Results: Citalopram was superior to placebo in reducing 12-week HAM-D scores (mean difference, 3.3 points; 96.7% confidence interval [CI], 0.80—5.85; P = .005), with a small to medium effect size of 0.33. Mean HAM-D response (52.8% vs 40.1%; P = .03) and remission rates (35.9% vs 22.5%; P = .01) and the reduction in BDI-II scores (difference, 3.6 points; 98.3% CI, 0.58—6.64; P = .005; effect size = 0.33) also favored citalopram. There was no evidence of a benefit of IPT over clinical management, with the mean HAM-D difference favoring clinical management (−2.26 points; 96.7% CI, −4.78 to 0.27; P = .06; effect size, 0.23). The difference on the BDI-II did not favor clinical management (1.13 points; 98.3% CI, −1.90 to 4.16; P = .37; effect size = 0.11). Conclusions: This trial documents the efficacy of citalopram administered in conjunction with weekly clinical management for major depression among patients with CAD and found no evidence of added value of IPT over clinical management. Based on these results and those of previous trials, citalopram or sertraline plus clinical management should be considered as a first-step treatment for patients with CAD and major depression. Trial Registration: isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN15858091.

Dimidjian S, Hollon SD, Dobson KS, Schmaling KB, Kohlenberg RJ, Addis ME, Gallop R, McGlinchey JB, Markley DK, Gollan JK, Atkins DC, Dunner DL, Jacobson NS

J Consult Clin Psychol20068; 74( 4): 658— 70

Antidepressant medication is considered the current standard for severe depression, and cognitive therapy is the most widely investigated psychosocial treatment for depression. However, not all patients want to take medication, and cognitive therapy has not demonstrated consistent efficacy across trials. Moreover, dismantling designs have suggested that behavioral components may account for the efficacy of cognitive therapy. The present study tested the efficacy of behavioral activation by comparing it with cognitive therapy and antidepressant medication in a randomized placebo-controlled design in adults with major depressive disorder (N = 241). In addition, it examined the importance of initial severity as a moderator of treatment outcome. Among more severely depressed patients, behavioral activation was comparable to antidepressant medication, and both significantly outperformed cognitive therapy. The implications of these findings for the evaluation of current treatment guidelines and dissemination are discussed.

Duman RS, Monteggia LM

Biol Psychiatry. 2006115; 59( 12): 1116— 27. Epub 2006 Apr 21

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that stress decreases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in limbic structures that control mood and that antidepressant treatment reverses or blocks the effects of stress. Decreased levels of BDNF, as well as other neurotrophic factors, could contribute to the atrophy of certain limbic structures, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex that has been observed in depressed subjects. Conversely, the neurotrophic actions of antidepressants could reverse neuronal atrophy and cell loss and thereby contribute to the therapeutic actions of these treatments. This review provides a critical examination of the neurotrophic hypothesis of depression that has evolved from this work, including analysis of preclinical cellular (adult neurogenesis) and behavioral models of depression and antidepressant actions, as well as clinical neuroimaging and postmortem studies. Although there are some limitations, the results of these studies are consistent with the hypothesis that decreased expression of BDNF and possibly other growth factors contributes to depression and that upregulation of BDNF plays a role in the actions of antidepressant treatment.

Trivedi MH, Fava M, Wisniewski SR, Thase ME, Quitkin F, Warden D, Ritz L, Nierenberg AA, Lebowitz BD, Biggs MM, Luther JF, Shores-Wilson K, Rush AJ; STAR*D Study Team

New England Journal of Medicine2006323; 354( 12): 1243— 52

Background: Although clinicians frequently add a second medication to an initial, ineffective antidepressant drug, no randomized controlled trial has compared the efficacy of this approach. Methods: We randomly assigned 565 adult outpatients who had nonpsychotic major depressive disorder without remission despite a mean of 11.9 weeks of citalopram therapy (mean final dose, 55 mg per day) to receive sustained-release bupropion (at a dose of up to 400 mg per day) as augmentation and 286 to receive buspirone (at a dose of up to 60 mg per day) as augmentation. The primary outcome of remission of symptoms was defined as a score of 7 or less on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-17) at the end of this study; scores were obtained over the telephone by raters blinded to treatment assignment. The 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Self-Report (QIDS-SR-16) was used to determine the secondary outcomes of remission (defined as a score of less than 6 at the end of this study) and response (a reduction in baseline scores of 50 percent or more). Results: The sustained-release bupropion group and the buspirone group had similar rates of HRSD-17 remission (29.7 percent and 30.1 percent, respectively), QIDS-SR-16 remission (39.0 percent and 32.9 percent), and QIDS-SR-16 response (31.8 percent and 26.9 percent). Sustained-release bupropion, however, was associated with a greater reduction (from baseline to the end of this study) in QIDS-SR-16 scores than was buspirone (25.3 percent vs. 17.1 percent, P < 0.04), a lower QIDS-SR-16 score at the end of this study (8.0 vs. 9.1, P < 0.02), and a lower dropout rate due to intolerance (12.5 percent vs. 20.6 percent, P < 0.009). Conclusions: Augmentation of citalopram with either sustained-release bupropion or buspirone appears to be useful in actual clinical settings. Augmentation with sustained-release bupropion does have certain advantages, including a greater reduction in the number and severity of symptoms and fewer side effects and adverse events.

Cohen LS, Altshuler LL, Harlow BL, Nonacs R, Newport DJ, Viguera AC, Suri R, Burt VK, Hendrick V, Reminick AM, Loughead A, Vitonis AF, Stowe ZN

Journal of American Medical Association200621; 295( 5): 499— 507

Context: Pregnancy has historically been described as a time of emotional well-being, providing "protection" against psychiatric disorder. However, systematic delineation of risk of relapse in women who maintain or discontinue pharmacological treatment during pregnancy is necessary. Objective: To describe risk of relapse in pregnant women who discontinued antidepressant medication proximate to conception compared with those who maintained treatment with these medications. Design, Setting, and Patients: A prospective naturalistic investigation using longitudinal psychiatric assessments on a monthly basis across pregnancy; a survival analysis was conducted to determine time to relapse of depression during pregnancy. A total of 201 pregnant women were enrolled between March 1999 and April 2003 from 3 centers with specific expertise in the treatment of psychiatric illness during pregnancy. The cohort of women was recruited from (1) within the hospital clinics, (2) self-referral via advertisements and community outreach detailing the study, and (3) direct referrals from the community. Participants were considered eligible if they (1) had a history of major depression prior to pregnancy, (2) were less than 16 weeks' gestation, (3) were euthymic for at least 3 months prior to their last menstrual period, and (4) were currently or recently (<12 weeks prior to last menstrual period) receiving antidepressant treatment. Of the 201 participants, 13 miscarried, 5 electively terminated their pregnancy, 12 were lost to follow-up prior to completion of pregnancy, and 8 chose to discontinue participation in the study. Main Outcome Measure: Relapse of major depression defined as fulfilling Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition] Diagnosis (SCID) criteria. Results: Among the 201 women in the sample, 86 (43%) experienced a relapse of major depression during pregnancy. Among the 82 women who maintained their medication throughout their pregnancy, 21 (26%) relapsed compared with 44 (68%) of the 65 women who discontinued medication. Women who discontinued medication relapsed significantly more frequently over the course of their pregnancy compared with women who maintained their medication (hazard ratio, 5.0; 95% confidence interval, 2.8—9.1; P < .001). Conclusions: Pregnancy is not "protective" with respect to risk of relapse of major depression. Women with histories of depression who are euthymic in the context of ongoing antidepressant therapy should be aware of the association of depressive relapse during pregnancy with antidepressant discontinuation.

Taylor CB, Youngblood ME, Catellier D. Veith RC, Carney RM, Burg MM, Kaufmann PG, Shuster J, Mellman T, Blumenthal JA, Krishnan R, Jaffe AS; ENRICHD Investigators

Archives of General Psychiatry20057; 62( 7): 792— 8

Background: Depression after myocardial infarction (MI) is associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Although antidepressants are effective in reducing depression, their use in patients with cardiovascular disease remains controversial. Objective: To undertake a secondary analysis to determine the effects of using antidepressants on morbidity and mortality in post-MI patients who participated in the Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease study. Design: Observational secondary analysis. Setting: Eight academic sites. Patients: The Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease clinical trial randomized 2481 depressed and/or socially isolated patients from October 1, 1996, to October 31, 1999. Depression was diagnosed using a structured clinical interview. This analysis was conducted on the 1834 patients enrolled with depression (849 women and 985 men). Intervention: Use of antidepressant medication. Main Outcome Measures: Event-free survival was defined as the absence of death or recurrent MI. All-cause mortality was also examined. To relate exposure to antidepressants to subsequent morbidity and mortality, the data were analyzed using a time-dependent covariate model. Results: During a mean follow-up of 29 months, 457 fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events occurred. The risk of death or recurrent MI was significantly lower in patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38—0.84), as were the risk of all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.37—0.96) and recurrent MI (adjusted HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.32—0.90), compared with patients who did not use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. For patients taking non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, the comparable HRs (95% CIs) were 0.72 (0.44—1.18), 0.64 (0.34—1.22), and 0.73 (0.38—1.38) for risk of death or recurrent MI, all-cause mortality, or recurrent MI, respectively, compared with nonusers. Conclusions: Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in depressed patients who experience an acute MI might reduce subsequent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A controlled trial is needed to examine this important issue.

DeRubeis RJ, Hollon SD, Amsterdam JD, Shelton RC, Young PR, Salomon RM, O'Reardon JP, Lovett ML, Gladis MM, Brown LL, Gallop R

Archives of General Psychiatry20054; 62( 4): 409— 16

Background: There is substantial evidence that antidepressant medications treat moderate to severe depression effectively, but there is less data on cognitive therapy's effects in this population. Objective: To compare the efficacy in moderate to severe depression of antidepressant medications with cognitive therapy in a placebo-controlled trial. Design: Random assignment to one of the following: 16 weeks of medications (n = 120), 16 weeks of cognitive therapy (n = 60), or 8 weeks of pill placebo (n = 60). Setting: Research clinics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. Patients: Two hundred forty outpatients, aged 18 to 70 years, with moderate to severe major depressive disorder. Interventions: Some study subjects received paroxetine, up to 50 mg daily, augmented by lithium carbonate or desipramine hydrochloride if necessary; others received individual cognitive therapy. Main Outcome Measure: The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale provided continuous severity scores and allowed for designations of response and remission. Results: At 8 weeks, response rates in medications (50%) and cognitive therapy (43%) groups were both superior to the placebo (25%) group. Analyses based on continuous scores at 8 weeks indicated an advantage for each of the active treatments over placebo, each with a medium effect size. The advantage was significant for medication relative to placebo, and at the level of a nonsignificant trend for cognitive therapy relative to placebo. At 16 weeks, response rates were 58% in each of the active conditions; remission rates were 46% for medication, 40% for cognitive therapy. Follow-up tests of a site × treatment interaction indicated a significant difference only at Vanderbilt University, where medications were superior to cognitive therapy. Site differences in patient characteristics and in the relative experience levels of the cognitive therapists each appear to have contributed to this interaction. Conclusion: Cognitive therapy can be as effective as medications for the initial treatment of moderate to severe major depression, but this degree of effectiveness may depend on a high level of therapist experience or expertise.

Hariri AR, Drabant EM, Munoz KE, Kolachana BS, Mattay VS, Egan MF, Weinberger DR

Archives of General Psychiatry20052; 62( 2): 146— 52

Background: A common regulatory variant (5-HTTLPR) in the human serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4), resulting in altered transcription and transporter availability, has been associated with vulnerability for affective disorders, including anxiety and depression. A recent functional magnetic resonance imaging study suggested that this association may be mediated by 5-HTTLPR effects on the response bias of the human amygdala-a brain region critical for emotional and social behavior-to environmental threat. Objectives and Design: To examine the effects of 5-HTTLPR genotype on the reactivity of the human amygdala to salient environmental cues with functional magnetic resonance imaging in a large (N = 92) cohort of volunteers carefully screened for past and present medical or psychiatric illness, and to explore the effects of 5-HTTLPR genotype as well as amygdala reactivity on harm avoidance, a putative personality measure related to trait anxiety. Results: We now confirm the finding of 5-HTTLPR short allele-driven amygdala hyperreactivity in a large independent cohort of healthy subjects with no history of psychiatric illness or treatment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these genotype effects on amygdala function are consistent with a dominant short allele effect and are equally prominent in men and women. However, neither 5-HTTLPR genotype, amygdala reactivity, nor genotype-driven variability in this reactivity was reflected in harm avoidance scores. Conclusions: Our results reveal a potent modulatory effect of the 5-HTTLPR on amygdala reactivity to environmental threat. Since this genetically driven effect exists in healthy subjects, it does not, in and of itself, predict dimensions of mood or temperament. As such, the 5-HTTLPR may represent a classic susceptibility factor for affective disorders by biasing the functional reactivity of the human amygdala in the context of stressful life experiences and/or deficient cortical regulatory input.

Gillespie NA, Whitfield JB, Williams B. Heath AC, Martin NG

Psychol Med. 20051; 35( 1): 101— 11

Background: Serotonin is a good candidate for major depression. We attempted to replicate the study by Caspi and colleagues [Science (2003) 301, 386—389] which reported a significant interaction between serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) genotype and stressful life events when predicting major depression. Method: We typed the serotonin promoter 5-HTTLPR gene in 1206 male and female twins aged 19—78 years (mean = 39, S.D. = 11). A DSM-IV diagnosis of major depression was available for 1199 twins. Most of these twins had participated in a 1988-1990 study which included a stressful life events inventory and self-report measure of depression based on the SCL-90 and DSSI/sAD. Complete 5-HTT genotype and life events data, self-report symptoms and major depression diagnoses were available for 1091 subjects. We regressed categorical and ordinal measures of depression onto stressful life events and genotype. Results: There were significant main effects for stressful life events but there was no evidence for any effect of 5-HTT genotype, nor a genotype × stressful life event interaction. Conclusions: Regardless of whether our results were based on binary logistic or ordinal regression analyses we found no evidence to support a main effect of 5-HTTLPR, or an interaction between the 5-HTTLPR genotype and stressful life events on major depression, Only 20% of our subjects were aged below 30 years. It is possible that the effect reported by Caspi and colleagues is specific to young people, in which case our study has much less power in this age group.

Sapolsky RM

Biological Psychiatry20001015; 48( 8): 755— 65

A number of studies indicate that prolonged, major depression is associated with a selective loss of hippocampal volume that persists long after the depression has resolved. This review is prompted by two ideas. The first is that overt neuron loss may be a contributing factor to the decrease in hippocampal volume. As such, the first half of this article reviews current knowledge about how hippocampal neurons die during insults, focusing on issues related to the trafficking of glutamate and calcium, glutamate receptor subtypes, oxygen radical generation, programmed cell death, and neuronal defenses. This is meant to orient the reader toward the biology that is likely to underlie any such instances of neuron loss in major depression. The second idea is that glucocorticoids, the adrenal steroids secreted during stress, may play a contributing role to any such neuron loss. The subtypes of depression associated with the hippocampal atrophy typically involve significant hypersecretion of glucocorticoids, and the steroid has a variety of adverse effects in the hippocampus, including causing overt neuron loss. The second half of this article reviews the steps in this cascade of hippocampal neuron death that are regulated by glucocorticoids.

Given space limitations and varying reprint permission policies, not all of the influential publications the editors considered reprinting in this issue could be included. This section contains abstracts from additional articles the editors deemed well worth reviewing.




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