Major Depressive Disorder in Older Adults: Benefits and Hazards of Prolonged Treatment.
ABSTRACT Antidepressants have been shown to reduce the risk of depression recurrence in adults, justifying prolonged antidepressant maintenance therapy for most if not all patients. However, older depressed adults may be at increased risk for antidepressant adverse effects. This article discusses the benefits and hazards of continued treatment in elderly depressed patients, and indicates which patients should and should not receive maintenance phase antidepressants. Most clinical trials conducted so far suggest that prolonged antidepressant use in older adults is efficacious to reduce recurrence rates. The benefits of prolonged antidepressant use may not be restricted to preventing recurrence but also include preservation of overall well-being, social functioning, reduced mortality risk from medical disorders, and reduced risk of dementia. Although generally safe, the prolonged use of antidepressants has been associated with higher risk of osteopenia/osteoporosis (in particular the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and cardiovascular toxicity (tricyclic antidepressants). Fewer data are available for special populations, like those with multiple medical comorbidities or those with dementia; thus, the benefits of prolonged antidepressant use are not clear in these individuals.
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ABSTRACT: Although studies indicate that community-dwelling elderly have a lower prevalence of major depression compared with younger age groups, prevalence estimates in Brazil show that clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS) and depression are frequent in the older population. However, a systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence of and factors associated with depressive disorders and symptoms in elderly Brazilians has not previously been reported. The aims were (i) to perform a survey of studies dating from 1991 to 2009 on the prevalence of depressive disorders and CSDS in elderly Brazilians residing in the community; (ii) to determine depression prevalence and identify associated factors; and (iii) develop a meta-analysis to indicate the combined prevalence and the influence of gender on depressive morbidity in this population. Studies were selected from articles dated between January 1991 and May 2009, extracted from Medline, LILACS and SciELO databases. A total of 17 studies were found, 13 with CSDS, 1 with major depression alone and 3 with major depression and dysthymia, involving the evaluation of 15,491 elderly people. The average age of participants varied between 66.5 and 84.0 years. Prevalence rates of 7.0% for major depression, 26.0% for CSDS, and 3.3% for dysthymia were found. The odds ratios for major depression and CSDS were greater among women. There was a significant association between major depression or CSDS and cardiovascular diseases. The review indicates greater prevalence of both major depression and CSDS compared to rates reported in the international literature, while the prevalence of dysthymia was found to be similar. The high prevalence of CSDS and its significant association with cardiovascular diseases reinforces the importance of evaluating subthreshold depressive symptoms in the elderly in the community.International Psychogeriatrics 08/2010; 22(5):712-26. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Effective antidepressants, including imipramine and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, were discovered serendipitously in the 1950s. Many additional agents have been introduced since then, but most are chemically or pharmacologically similar to those known for nearly four decades. Some recently introduced antidepressants offer either lesser or dissimilar side effects, but none exceeds older treatments in efficacy. Selective serotoninpotentiating agents and short-acting MAO-A inhibitors promise efficacy with greater safety. Progress is made difficult because atypical or treatment-resistant patients are more often available for study than typical patients, and because most studies must rely heavily on potentially misleading "standard drug versus new drug" comparisons. Rational development of novel or better agents is slow, in part, due to limited understanding of the biological basis of major affective disorders and some circularity in relating actions of known drugs to pathophysiologic hypotheses. Action mechanisms of antidepressants are subtle and complex: adaptive changes occur in brain monoaminergic neurotransmission following repeated administration of agents of the tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) type that may lead to net facilitation of alpha 1-adrenergic transmission. Important advances have been made in using plasma TCA levels to guide individualization of dosing, in exploring higher doses of antidepressants when ordinary doses prove ineffective, and in recognizing a broadening spectrum of possible indications for antidepressants in adults and children. These indications include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, and bulimia. Evidence for the prophylactic effects of antidepressants after the first months following recovery from an index episode of major depression is weak, and the treatment of common recurrent or chronic depression remains unsatisfactory. Gains have been made in increasing clinicians' and the general public's awareness of the common occurrence and appropriate treatment of major depression, even when the depression is associated with other medical or psychiatric disorders.The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 05/1989; 50(4):117-26. · 5.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Late-life depression is an important public health issue, given the growing proportion of the elderly relative to the general population in the developed world. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of antidepressants for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in elderly patients. PubMed/MEDLINE was searched for randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antidepressants for treatment of both adult (nonelderly) MDD (patients aged < 65 years) and late-life MDD (patients aged ≥ 55 years). The search was limited to articles published between January 1, 1980, and March 3, 2010 (inclusive). The year 1980 was used as a cutoff in our search to decrease diagnostic variability, since the DSM-III was introduced in 1980. Our search cross-referenced the term placebo with each of the following antidepressants: amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, desipramine, clomipramine, trimipramine, protriptyline, dothiepin, doxepin, lofepramine, amoxapine, maprotiline, amineptine, nomifensine, bupropion, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, isocarboxazid, moclobemide, brofaromine, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, zimelidine, tianeptine, trazodone, nefazodone, agomelatine, venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, milnacipran, reboxetine, mirtazapine, and mianserin. We also reviewed the reference lists of all studies identified through the PubMed/MEDLINE search. Articles were selected that reported on randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antidepressants used as monotherapy for treatment of MDD and that met numerous a priori criteria pertaining to MDD diagnosis criteria, study duration, study design, drug formulation, original data, age thresholds, primary and secondary outcome measures, and exclusions of other disorders. Final inclusion of articles was determined by consensus between the authors. Seventy-four articles were found eligible for inclusion in our analysis (15 late-life MDD trials and 59 adult MDD trials). Antidepressants were found to be efficacious for late-life MDD (age 55 and older; P < .0001), although there was evidence for heterogeneity across studies (Q22 = 67.302, P < .001). However, antidepressants were not found to be efficacious in the subset of studies using age thresholds of 65 years or older (older late-life MDD) (P = .265). Finally, when we controlled for study design characteristics, antidepressant but not placebo response rates were lower among late-life MDD patients than among adult MDD patients. The present meta-analysis suggests that antidepressants are efficacious in late-life MDD, but significant study heterogeneity suggests that other factors may contribute to these findings. A secondary analysis raises the possibility that efficacy of these agents may be reduced in trials involving patients aged 65 years or older. Why antidepressants may be less efficacious in elderly versus younger subjects remains unclear.The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 12/2011; 72(12):1660-8. · 5.81 Impact Factor