July 27, 2017 – New Agent


Anchor lead: If typical antidepressants don’t work, adding another type of medicine may help, Elizabeth Tracey reports

In people with depression that doesn’t respond totally to the usual antidepressant medications, adding another type of drug known as an atypical antipsychotic may help, a recent study found. Eric Strain, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says adding a medicine that works via a different mechanism is an idea that’s been increasingly popular.

Strain: There are patients now who get put on antidepressants who respond to the antidepressant but don’t have a full therapeutic response. And I think the field is moving forward now with the idea that we shouldn’t be complacent if somebody is 70 or 75% better, that we need to be thinking about what can we do to get them back to 100%? So that’s where I start to think about using a second agent that has perhaps a different mechanism of action to augment the foundational antidepressant that they’re on.   :31

Strain says there is no substitute for clinical experience in use of additional types of drugs to those with treatment resistant depression and that the strategy is well worth trying. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.