Clinical importance of long-term antidepressant treatment

R. M A Hirschfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Depression, which only a few decades ago was considered to be a short-term illness requiring short-term treatment, is now recognised as a recurrent, sometimes chronic, long-term illness. Aims: To highlight the clinical importance of long-term antidepressant therapy in the treatment of depression. Method: The current literature was reviewed to examine the relationship between duration of antidepressant therapy and efficacy. Results: Approximately one-third to a half of patients successfully stabilised in acute-phase treatment will relapse if medication is not sustained throughout the continuation period. Only 10-15% will relapse if medication is continued. For maintenance-phase therapy, approximately 60% of patients at risk will experience a recurrent episode of depression within 1 year if untreated, whereas those who continue in treatment will have a recurrence rate of between 10% and 30%. Conclusions: Risk of relapse and recurrence of depression can be significantly reduced if adequate continuation and maintenance therapy durations are achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume179
Issue numberSUPPL. 42
StatePublished - 2001

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Antidepressive Agents
Recurrence
Therapeutics
Maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Clinical importance of long-term antidepressant treatment. / Hirschfeld, R. M A.

In: British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 179, No. SUPPL. 42, 2001.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hirschfeld, R. M A. / Clinical importance of long-term antidepressant treatment. In: British Journal of Psychiatry. 2001 ; Vol. 179, No. SUPPL. 42.
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