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Posts Tagged ‘antidepressants’

antidepressantsBBC News (10/26, Roberts) reports that, according to research (http://tinyurl.com/antidepressants-work-fast) published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, “antidepressants get to work immediately to lift mood,” even though “patients may not notice the effects until months into the therapy.” Researchers from the UK’s Oxford University “closely studied the reactions of 33 depressed patients and 31 healthy controls given either an antidepressant or a” placebo, finding that “depressed patients who took the active” medicine “showed positive improvements in three specific measures within three hours of taking them.” In an accompanying editorial psychiatrist Michael Thase, MD, characterized the study’s findings as “potentially ‘paradigm-changing,'” but called for further research.

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In the Wall Street Journal (2/9) Health Blog, Jeanne Whalen wrote that pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced Monday that “it’s partnering with the Mayo Clinic and Virginia Tech to work on an experimental class of antidepressants known as triple reuptake inhibitors, or TRIs.” These medications “target three brain chemicals believed to be involved in depression — serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.” Currently antidepressants “target just serotonin, or serotonin and norepinephrine.” According to Christer Köhler, vice president of global discovery research at AstraZeneca, “by adding dopamine to the mix,” pharmaceutical “makers hope to crack certain types of depression that typically don’t respond to” medication “treatment, including melancholic depression.”

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Bloomberg News (1/14, Lopatto) reports that, according to a study published in the Jan. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Certain antidepressants lessen the distress of pain and sleep disturbances for fibromyalgia patients, boosting their quality of life.” Winfried Hauser, M.D., of the Klinikum Saarbruecken, and colleagues, conducted a meta-analysis of “18 randomized trials, with a combined 1,427 participants.”
        WebMD (1/13, Boyles) noted that the trials contained “patients taking different classes of antidepressants, including low doses of tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).” Using “a standardized model to assess the effectiveness of the medications on common fibromyalgia symptoms,” researchers found that the “TCA amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), given in low doses, had the largest effect on pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Little effect was recorded on depressed mood, however.”
        Based on their findings, the investigators wrote that “since evidence for a long-term effect of antidepressants in [fibromyalgia] is still lacking, their effects should be re-evaluated at regular intervals to determine whether benefits outweigh adverse effects,” HealthDay (1/13, McKeever) reported.
        The condition “affects up to 12 million people (four percent of the U.S. population), nearly 11 million of them women,” Scientific American (1/13, Ballantyne) added. Experts say that the “degree of debilitation caused by the disease ranges ‘from very little to total.'” At present, “there is no definitive test for fibromyalgia, which doctors typically diagnose based on symptoms, including chronic widespread pain.”

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