Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA; Vincenza Snow, MD; Thomas D. Denberg, MD, PhD; Mary Ann Forciea, MD; Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; for the Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians *
Note: Clinical practice guidelines are guides only and may not apply to all patients and all clinical situations. Thus, they are not intended to override clinicians' judgment. All ACP clinical practice guidelines are considered automatically withdrawn or invalid 5 years after publication, or once an update has been issued.
Disclaimer: The authors of this article are responsible for its contents, including any clinical or treatment recommendations. No statement in this article should be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Grant Support: Financial support for the development of this guideline comes exclusively from the American College of Physicians' operating budget.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Grants received: V. Snow (Atlantic Philanthropies, Novo Nordisk, Boehringer Ingelheim, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sanofi Pasteur, Endo). Any conflict of interest of the group members was declared, discussed, and resolved.
Requests for Single Reprints: Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Qaseem and Snow: 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
Dr. Denberg: 12631 East 17th Avenue, B180, Academic Office 1, Aurora, CO 80045.
Dr. Forciea: 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Dr. Owens: 117 Encina Commons, Stanford, CA 94305.
The American College of Physicians developed this guideline to present the available evidence on the pharmacologic management of the acute, continuation, and maintenance phases of major depressive disorder; dysthymia; subsyndromal depression; and accompanying symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, or neurovegetative symptoms, by using second-generation antidepressants.
Published literature on this topic was identified by using MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychLit, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts from 1980 to April 2007. Searches were limited to English-language studies in adults older than 19 years of age. Keywords for search included terms for depressive disorders and 12 specific second-generation antidepressantsbupropion, citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone, and venlafaxineand their specific trade names. This guideline grades the evidence and recommendations by using the American College of Physicians clinical practice guidelines grading system.
The American College of Physicians recommends that when clinicians choose pharmacologic therapy to treat patients with acute major depression, they select second-generation antidepressants on the basis of adverse effect profiles, cost, and patient preferences (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).
The American College of Physicians recommends that clinicians assess patient status, therapeutic response, and adverse effects of antidepressant therapy on a regular basis beginning within 1 to 2 weeks of initiation of therapy (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).
The American College of Physicians recommends that clinicians modify treatment if the patient does not have an adequate response to pharmacotherapy within 6 to 8 weeks of the initiation of therapy for major depressive disorder (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).
The American College of Physicians recommends that clinicians continue treatment for 4 to 9 months after a satisfactory response in patients with a first episode of major depressive disorder. For patients who have had 2 or more episodes of depression, an even longer duration of therapy may be beneficial (Grade: strong recommendation; moderate-quality evidence).
Phases of treatment of major depression.
Reproduced with permission from Physicians Postgraduate Press (Kupfer DJ. Long-term treatment of depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 1991;52 Suppl:28-34. [PMID: 1903134]).
Table 1. The American College of Physicians Guideline Grading System*
Table 2. Durations and Dosages of Treatments Used in the Trials Reviewing the Comparative Efficacy and Effectiveness of Treating Major Depressive Disorder
Table 3. Durations and Dosages of Treatments Used in the Trials Reviewing the Comparative Efficacy and Effectiveness for Treating Recurrent and Treatment-Resistant Depression
The ACP found no substantial differnece in efficacy or quality of life among "second-generation" antidepressants used to treat depressive disorders such as major depressive disorder.
Qaseem A, Snow V, Denberg TD, et al, for the Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians. Using Second-Generation Antidepressants to Treat Depressive Disorders: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2008;149:725–733. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-149-10-200811180-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(10):725-733.
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