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SNRIs in the Management of Acute Major Depressive Disorder

John M. Zajecka, MD, and Dominick Albano, PharmD, MBA

Published: December 15, 2004

Article Abstract

Remission of a patient’s index major depressive episode is essential in preventing a recurrent orchronic depressive course. Once remission is established, the subsequent goal is to maintain remissionand prevent a relapse of the episode with a minimum of 4 to 9 months of continuation treatment. Commonbelief suggests that all antidepressants have equivalent efficacy when measured by remission,but this may be a misconception based on limitations in current clinical trial methods. Furthermore,major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex illness with a variety of co-occurring somatic andoften painful symptoms. In addition, increasing evidence suggests that, in some depressed patients,serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may provide benefits of treating a broaderrange of target symptoms than single-acting agents, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs). Given the available evidence and the importance of remission, the pendulum has swung toconsider using agents with dual reuptake inhibition (e.g., SNRIs) as standard and initial treatment fordepression.

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