SOURCE: American College of Physicians

November 18, 2008 10:12 ET

American College of Physicians Finds No Substantial Differences Among "Second-Generation" Antidepressant Drugs

New Guideline Looks at Effectiveness of Drugs Used to Treat Depressive Disorders

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - The American College of Physicians is publishing a new guideline for the treatment of depression in Annals of Internal Medicine. ACP found no substantial differences in efficacy or quality of life among "second-generation" antidepressants used to treat depressive disorders such as major depressive disorder. ACP recommends that physicians make treatment decisions based on side effects, cost, and patient preferences, and make necessary changes in therapy if the response is not sufficient after six to eight weeks. Doctors should also assess patient status and adverse effects on a regular basis starting within one to two weeks of starting the treatment.

Depression is a serious illness that causes sadness that interferes with daily life. Depressive disorders are more prevalent during the late fall and winter months when a reduced amount of natural sunlight can trigger seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. During these months some people may also experience deep sadness, dread, or loneliness due to the approaching holidays. Symptoms of depression include loss of interest in daily activities, decreased ability to think or concentrate, lack of energy, or fluctuation in weight or sleeping patterns.

Stressful situations, such as a financial or economic crisis, also may trigger a depressive episode. Depression is a medical condition, not a normal reaction to life situations such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. Depression will affect about 16 percent of American adults in their lifetime. It can be treated with drug therapy, counseling, or both. Because symptoms can be vague, some people are unaware that they have a treatable medical condition. The economic burden of depressive disorders is estimated to be about $83 billion.

Annals of Internal Medicine (www.annals.org) is one of the most widely cited peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. The journal has been published for 81 years and accepts only 7 percent of the original research studies submitted for publication. Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians, the nation's largest medical specialty society.

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