Persistence found to be key to treating depressed teens

Reuters Feb 26, 2008

Teenagers whose initial drug treatment fails to combat depression, which happens in four out of 10 cases, can be helped by switching medicine and adding psychotherapy, a U.S. study published on Tuesday said. “The findings should be encouraging for families with a teen who has been struggling with depression for some time,” said Dr. David Brent of the University of Pittsburgh who headed the research. “Even if a first attempt at treatment is unsuccessful, persistence will pay off. Being open to trying new evidence-based medications or treatment combinations is likely to result in improvement,” he added.

The study, published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted from 2000 to 2008. It involved 334 patients aged 12 to 18 with major depression who had not responded to two months of treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI, a type of antidepressant… The researchers found that about 55 percent of those who switched to either type of medication and added therapy got better, while 41 percent of those who switched to another medication without therapy also responded.