Magazine article USA TODAY

No Added Benefits for Extra Cost

Magazine article USA TODAY

No Added Benefits for Extra Cost

Article excerpt

Taking two medications for depression does not hasten recovery from the condition that affects 19,000,000 Americans each year. researchers have found. "Clinicians should not rush to prescribe combinations of antidepressant medications as first-line treatment for patients with major depressive disorder." cautions psychiatrist Madhukar H. Tdvedi. principal investigator of a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. "The clinical implications are very clear--the extra cost and burden of two medications is not worthwhile as a first treatment step."

Researchers at 15 sites across the country studied patients ages 18 to 75 with major depressive disorder. Three treatment groups were formed and prescribed antidepressant medications already approved by the Food and Drug Administration. One group received escitalopram (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI) and a placebo; the second group received the same SSRI paired with bupropion (a nontricyclic antidepressant); and a third group took different antidepressants: venlafaxine (a tetracyclic antidepressant) and mirtazapine (a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). …

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