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Debate and Discussion: Do Some Antidepressants Have a Faster Onset of Action Than Others?

Robert M. A. Hirschfeld, MD; Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD; Jack M. Gorman, MD; Stephen P. Roose, MD; Andrew C. Leon, PhD; Pierre Blier, MD, PhD; Larry Culpepper, MD; Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD; Stephen M. Stahl, MD, PhD; Madhukar H. Trivedi, MD

Published: March 1, 2001

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Dr. Hirschfeld: The fundamental issue for patients and the fundamental issue with regard to faster onset is feeling better faster—without a substantial increase in side effects. I think we can get too detailed in coming up with 10 different definitions of onset of action and defining a whole number of analytical techniques, which may serve in some ways to obfuscate the concept rather than to help clarify it. The bottom line is, how quickly does the drug act in helping the patient to feel better?

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