Prevention of Depression With Escitalopram in Patients Undergoing Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
ABSTRACT IMPORTANCE Major depressive disorder develops in up to half the patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer, resulting in significant morbidity; therefore, preventing depression during cancer treatment may be of great benefit. OBJECTIVE To determine whether prophylactic use of the antidepressant escitalopram oxalate would decrease the incidence of depression in patients receiving primary therapy for head and neck cancer. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of escitalopram vs placebo was conducted in a group of nondepressed patients diagnosed as having head and neck cancer who were about to enter cancer treatment. Patients were stratified by sex, site, stage (early vs advanced), and primary modality of treatment (radiation vs surgery). MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE The primary outcome measure was the number of participants who developed moderate or greater depression (scores on the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology-Self Rated of ≥11). RESULTS From January 6, 2008, to December 28, 2011, 148 patients were randomized. Significantly fewer patients receiving escitalopram developed depression (24.6% in the placebo group vs 10.0% in the escitalopram group; stratified log-rank test, P = .04). A Cox proportional hazards regression model compared the 2 treatment groups after controlling for age, baseline smoking status, and stratification variables. The hazard ratio of 0.37 (95% CI, 0.14-0.96) demonstrated an advantage of escitalopram (P = .04). Patients undergoing radiotherapy as the initial modality were significantly more likely to develop depression than those undergoing surgery (radiotherapy compared with surgery group; hazard ratio, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.38-9.40; P = .009). Patients in the escitalopram group who completed the study and were not depressed rated their overall quality of life as significantly better for 3 consecutive months after cessation of drug use. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In nondepressed patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer, prophylactic escitalopram reduced the risk of developing depression by more than 50%. In nondepressed patients who completed the trial, quality of life was also significantly better for 3 consecutive months after cessation of drug use in the escitalopram group. These findings have important implications for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. TRIAL REGISTRATION clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00536172.
Article: Psychopharmacology in Cancer[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Depression, anxiety, delirium, and other psychiatric symptoms are highly prevalent in the cancer setting, and pharmacological intervention is an important component in the overall psychosocial care of the patient. Psychopharmacology is also used as a primary or adjuvant treatment for the management of cancer-related symptoms stemming from the disease itself and/or its treatment, including sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, neuropathic pain, nausea, fatigue, and hot flashes. Psychiatrists, oncologists, and palliative care physicians working as members of a multidisciplinary team have the opportunity to target multiple symptoms that negatively affect a patient's quality of life with the strategic use of psychotropic medications when deemed appropriate. This article aims to review the indications for use of antidepressants, psychostimulants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers in oncology. An updated review of the relevant literature is discussed and referenced in each section.Current Psychiatry Reports 01/2015; 17(1):529. DOI:10.1007/s11920-014-0529-x · 3.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cancer patients commonly experience depression and fatigue before, during, and after treatment. Symptoms can be debilitating, and the risks associated with unrecognized or inadequately treated depression are substantial. Inflammation may be important in the genesis of depression and fatigue in cancer patients; potential neurobiological mechanisms of inflammation-related behavioral symptoms are reviewed. Randomized studies of pharmacologic treatments for depression in cancer populations are limited, but available data are generally encouraging. Studies of pharmacologic treatments for cancer-related fatigue have been more numerous but with mixed results. A practical approach to pharmacologic treatment of depression and fatigue in cancer patients involves weighing the potential risks and benefits of specific agents, including potential for adverse or advantageous side effects. Progress in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying inflammation-related behavioral symptoms will provide opportunities for the development of novel and targeted treatments.Current Psychiatry Reports 03/2015; 17(3):555. DOI:10.1007/s11920-015-0555-3 · 3.05 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Depression is a distressing emotion that occurs during various times of the cancer trajectory. Depression often goes unrecognized and untreated, which can significantly affect cost, quality of life, and treatment adherence. The Oncology Nursing Society's Putting Evidence Into Practice depression project team reviewed current literature to identify evidence-based interventions to reduce depression in people with cancer. Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions were evaluated, and opportunities for nurses to integrate recommendations into practice are offered in this article.Clinical journal of oncology nursing 12/2014; 18:26-37. DOI:10.1188/14.CJON.S3.26-37 · 0.95 Impact Factor