Pharmacologic Treatment Strategies for the Depressed, Poorly Responsive Patient
AbstractTreatment-resistant depression implies a failure of response to an ample dose of antidepressant medicine, prescribed over a sufficient length of time. Assessing drug levels in the blood is often helpful in confirming the adequacy of antidepressant dosages. Augmentation of the pharmaceutical activity can be achieved by coadministration of lithium, triiodothyronine, and/or stimulants. Neuroleptics are also prescribed with the antidepressant when psychotic features accompany depression. Such enhancements to drug efficacy are usually an advantage over beginning a new medication because of shorter response time. When a decision is made to change the antidepressant, a structurally different option is more likely to induce a remission than a medication of similar configuration. Electroconvulsive therapy is the most powerful treatment choice for depressed patients, especially when suicidal or psychotic features are present.
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