According to a new study published in The Lancet, combining an antipsychotic drug with an antidepressant could improve clinical depression in elderly adults who don’t respond to standard treatment.
Research shows that older adults with depression spend almost twice as much on health care services than those without depression. Depression is also linked with an increased risk of dementia.
The research team examined 468 people over the age of 60 who had been diagnosed with depression. Each participant took the antidepressant venlafaxine over a 12-week period.
After the 12week period, researchers discovered that about half of the participants were still clinically depressed. The team then gave participants who didn’t respond to the antidepressant either a placebo to take with venlafaxine or aripiprazole.
Researchers discovered that the drug combination led to improved symptoms in 44% of the patients who didn’t respond to venlafaxine on its own. The team also discovered that 29% of the participants who received the placebo experienced a remission of their depression.
Dr. Eric J. Lenze, the study’s first author, concludes, “One of the things we see as critical to our future research will be trying to better understand the factors that make some people respond to specific forms of treatment that may not work for others.”
Sources for Today’s Article:
McIntosh, J., “New Drug Could Help Older Adults with Clinical Depression,” Medical News Today web site, September 28, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/300030.php.
Lenze, E.J., et al., “Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of augmentation pharmacotherapy with aripiprazole for treatment-resistant depression in late life: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” The Lancet September 27, 2015, doi: 10.1016/S01406736(15)003086.