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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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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Electrical Brain Stimulation Plus Drug Fights Depression: Study

(HealthDay News) — Treating major depression safely and affordably is a challenge. Now, Brazilian researchers have found that two techniques often used individually produce better results when used together.

The researchers paired the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) and a type of noninvasive brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to treat people with moderate to severe symptoms of major depression.

Transcranial direct current stimulation appears to be just as effective a treatment as Zoloft, but the two together are even more effective, said lead researcher Dr. Andre Russowsky Brunoni, from the Clinical Research Center at University Hospital of the University of Sao Paulo.

via Electrical Brain Stimulation Plus Drug Fights Depression: Study.

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What to Do During the First Two Weeks You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

Image: My Room at Beau Rivage by Henri Matisse
My Room at Beau Rivage by Henri Matisse

The key words here are indulge yourself. Listen, you’re having enough trouble getting out of bed every day and going to work or school. You don’t need to push yourself. Think of yourself as an invalid recuperating from a very debilitating illness. You have to pamper yourself, body and spirit. This page is therefore all about “cocooning”, that is, wrapping yourself up in layers of comfort to protect yourself.

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Antidepressant Medications at a Glance

Generic Name
Brand Names
Drug Family
Use
amitriptylineElavil, Typtanol, Saroten, Tryptizoltricyclicantidepressant
bupropionWellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Odranalaminoketoneantidepressant
citalopramCelexaSSRIantidepressant
clomipramineAnafranilheterocyclicantidepressant
desipramineNorpramin, Pertofrantricyclicantidepressant
doxepinAdapin, Sinequan, Zonalontricyclicantidepressant
fluvoxamineLuvoxSSRIantidepressant
fluoxetineProzacSSRIantidepressant
mirtazepineRemeron, Remeron SolTabtetracyclicantidepressant, antipanic
nefazodoneSerzonephenylpiperazineantidepressant
nortriptylineAventyltricyclicantidepressant
paroxetinePaxil, AropaxSSRIantidepressant
reboxetineVestra, Edronax, NoreboxsNRIantidepressant
sertralineZoloftSSRIantidepressant
trazodoneDesyrel, Trialodinetriazolopyridineantidepressant
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Let’s All Trash Antidepressants (Not!)

I recently read an excerpt of the book A Brief History of Anxiety by Patricia Pearson, in which she more or less trashes every aspect of psychiatric drugs. She notes that people posting to websites comment on feeling emotionally flat or numb when they’re taking them, and says that they “yearn for their sorrow back.”

I am so sick and tired of hearing this over and over. For one thing, in the same way that companies generally only hear from dissatisfied customers and not the satisfied ones, you’re going to hear more from people who are unhappy with their antidepressant response than from people who are happy with it. Happy people are not still looking for a solution. They’ve moved on. People who are dissatisfied with their medication are either venting out of frustration or hoping someone has an answer.

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I Wanted To Live: New Depression Drugs Offer Hope For Toughest Cases : Shots – Health Blog : NPR

A club drug called "Special K" is generating a lot of buzz among researchers who study depression.Thats because "Special K," which is actually an FDA-approved anesthetic named ketamine, can relieve even suicidal depression in a matter of hours. And it works on many patients who havent responded to current antidepressants like Prozac.Those traditional drugs, which act on the brains serotonin system, can take more than a month to kick in, and dont work for up to 40 percent of people with major depression."We can take care of a migraine in hours," says Carlos Zarate, a brain researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health who is studying ketamine. "So why do we have to wait weeks or months with depression?"

via I Wanted To Live: New Depression Drugs Offer Hope For Toughest Cases : Shots – Health Blog : NPR.

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Ways to Keep Depression Treatment Affordable

If you have depression and are struggling financially, the last thing you want to give up is your depression treatment, but you may feel that you just can’t justify paying for your treatment instead of rent, food and utilities. Here are a few ideas that might help you continue with therapy and medication treatment.

Therapy

If you’re having trouble paying for therapy but hate to give it up, consider these alternatives:

  • Support groups are a low-cost and often very effective form of therapy. Try your local mental health clinic, community center or church for descriptions of groups available and contact information. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has chapters in many states in the U.S. (However, they do point out on their site that support groups should supplement therapy instead of replace it.)
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What do you do if your antidepressant “kind of” works?

Image: Open Window, Collioure by Henri Matisse
Open Window, Collioure by Henri Matisse

Does your antidepressant “kind of” work? If you feel better, but not good or normal, after starting a new antidepressant, you’re probably experiencing what’s known as a “partial response.” This can be very frustrating, and unfortunately many people assume that a partial response is the best they’re going to get, especially if their doctor hasn’t fully explained the possible outcomes of trying a new antidepressant. Also, a doctor that’s rushed or less than thorough may not query the patient in enough detail to realize that the response is only partial.

Fortunately, there are a few options to consider when you get a partial response to an antidepressant. All of these, except perhaps the exercise option, should be undertaken under your doctor’s care.

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More Evidence DBS Effective for Severe Depression

One of the first multicenter pilot studies to examine deep-brain stimulation DBS for severe depression confirms earlier evidence that this treatment is effective.In the open-label study, investigators targeted the subcallosal cingulate gyrus area of the brain in 21 patients with long-term treatment-resistant depression TRD. One year after receiving DBS implantation, a majority of the study participants showed a 40% reduction in symptoms of depression.

via More Evidence DBS Effective for Severe Depression.

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