Resistance to Antidepressant Treatment

It may come as a surprise to anyone who’s read my writing to hear that I was reluctant to start antidepressant treatment for my depression. While I would not call myself “pro” medication, my life has been changed by antidepressants, and I know quite a few other people who feel the same way.

However, my initial reaction to my psychiatrist’s suggestion that I start antidepressants was a firm “no.” Or, that is, as firm as I was about anything at that time. I was in the middle of the third, and worst, major depressive episode of my life. Most of the time I was either numb or crying. I had made an appointment for a mental health evaluation after reading William Styron’s Darkness Visible and realizing that in all likelihood I was suffering from clinical depression.

My psychiatrist’s confirmation that I did have clinical depression was a huge relief to me. I think he was somewhat surprised; I’m sure some of his patients were resistant to the diagnosis. I was just relieved that what I was going through had a name and that my symptoms were part of a medical condition. I wasn’t, however, ready to treat it with medication.

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Exercise Might Lift Libido in Women on Antidepressants

(HealthDay News) — Exercise might help treat sexual problems in women taking antidepressants, especially if their workouts occur right before sex, new research reveals.

The study included 52 women who had reduced desire and other sexual side effects while taking antidepressants.

For the first three weeks of the study, the women did not exercise. They were then divided into two groups for the next three weeks, with one group assigned to exercise immediately before sex and the other group assigned to exercise in a way that was not timed to having sex. The researchers then reversed the two groups for another three weeks.

via Exercise Might Lift Libido in Women on Antidepressants.

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Lilly says depression drug didn’t meet goal in three studies – chicagotribune.com

Eli Lilly & Co. will end development of the depression medicine edivoxetine as an add-on therapy after the drug failed to meet goals in three studies.A current trial evaluating the experimental compound’s long-term effects will continue, the Indianapolis-based company said in a statement Thursday. Edivoxetine was in the final of three stages of testing usually required for marketing approval by U.S. regulators.

via Lilly says depression drug didn't meet goal in three studies – chicagotribune.com.

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Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk

(HealthDay News) — Children of mothers who take a widely used class of antidepressants during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, a large new study finds.

Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social skills, is estimated to affect about one in 88 children in the United States.

Previous research has suggested that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are up to five times more likely to have children with autism.

via Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk.

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Why Do Some People Prefer “Natural” Treatment for Depression?

In the Tyrol – 1904 by John Singer Sargent

Since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, several people have suggested bee stings as an alternative treatment to the interferon beta shot I do once a week. The first time a helpful soul suggested it, I was stupefied for a minute. I mean, honestly. How is being stung by bees preferable in any way to medication? Granted, my interferon medicine does have side effects, but what would make anyone think bee stings are free from side effects? I’ve had allergic reactions to stinging insects in the past, for one thing, and there’s a reason that many people carry epi-pens to counteract bee stings. I’m wondering if somehow the potential throat-closing-up-lack-of-breathing is seen as inconsequential compared to medication side effects by the people who suggest the bee sting regimen. For some inexplicable (at least, to me) reason, some people think that if a treatment is natural, it is always superior to one developed in a lab. For me, this is a head-scratcher. Natural is not even safe in every situation, let alone superior. Digitalis, which is derived from foxglove, is used to treat heart conditions, but do you know any cardiac patients who grow the plant and just clip some off when they’re in distress? No, of course not, or at least I hope not. They use pills that are prescribed for the condition, as the level of digitalis in them is safe.

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Variant of Club Drug ‘K’ Might Have New Life as Antidepressant

HealthDay News — The veterinary tranquilizer ketamine — perhaps better known as the illicit "club drug" Special K — may be reformulated for use as an antidepressant, and researchers report promising early findings.The goal is to produce a ketamine-like drug without nasty side effects, such as hallucinations. In this new study, which researchers say is the most comprehensive of its kind, depressed people who took the drug reported improvement over three weeks.

via Variant of Club Drug 'K' Might Have New Life as Antidepressant.

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FDA Approves New Antidepressant

The drug Brintellix has been approved to treat depression, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

“Major depressive disorder can be disabling and can keep a person from functioning normally,” Dr. Mitchell Mathis, acting director of the division of psychiatry products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a news release. “Since medications affect everyone differently, it is important to have a variety of treatment options available for patients who suffer from depression.”

via Health Highlights: Oct. 1, 2013.

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Preschoolers’ Use of Psychiatric Drugs Levels Off, Study Shows

(HealthDay News) — Doctors don’t seem to be as quick as they once were to reach for their prescription pads when treating preschoolers for mental troubles, a new study shows.

The research, published online Sept. 30 in the journal Pediatrics, looked at recent trends in the use of psychotropic medications — drugs that alter mood or behavior — in children between the ages of 2 and 5.

After reaching a peak between 2002 and 2005, the use of drugs such as stimulants and antidepressants to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression, respectively, leveled off between 2006 and 2009, even though diagnoses of those disorders climbed over the same time period.

via Preschoolers’ Use of Psychiatric Drugs Levels Off, Study Shows.

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Antidepressants Celexa, Lexapro Tied to Irregular Heartbeat: Study

HealthDay News — People taking certain antidepressants, including Celexa and Lexapro, may have a slightly increased risk of developing an abnormal heart beat.Researchers say the drugs, which are in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs, may extend the length of electrical activity in the heart, called a QT interval. A long QT interval is an indicator of abnormal heart rhythms."For people who are taking higher doses of citalopram Celexa or escitalopram Lexapro, they should discuss these doses with their doctors," said lead researcher Dr. Roy Perlis, director of the Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics in the psychiatry department at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston."They should absolutely not just stop their medicine," he added.

via Antidepressants Celexa, Lexapro Tied to Irregular Heartbeat: Study.

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Prenatal Antidepressants Don’t Raise Fetal, Infant Death Risk: Study

(HealthDay News) — Women who take certain antidepressants while pregnant do not raise the risk of a stillbirth or death of their baby in the first year of life, according to a large new study.

The findings stem from an analysis of birth outcomes in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden that included about 1.6 million babies born between 1996 and 2007. Close to 2 percent of the infants’ mothers — about 30,000 women — took prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), for depressive symptoms during their pregnancy.

via Prenatal Antidepressants Don’t Raise Fetal, Infant Death Risk: Study.

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