Major depression affects 15 million American adults, or approximately 5-8 percent of the adult population in a given year. You don’t need a study to tell you the current economy is pushing rates of anxiety and depression to new highs because so many consumers are so low.
Antidepressants typically include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Side effects are a major problem for patients, causing them to abandon their medications. SSRIs, for example, can dull sexual response in patients. Fatigue, nervousness and headaches are other unwelcome “bonuses.”
Psychiatrists generally agree there’s been nothing really new under the sun for almost a decade in the antidepressant category, but that’s about to change in the next two years or less. Here’s why, according to Donald Hilty, M. D. of UC Davis, a professor of clinical psychiatry and consultant to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Learn these names
1. Viibryd: (vilazadone HCL)
This was due earlier this year, but has not yet been announced. According to Dr. Hilty, it appears to be well tolerated without annoying sexual side effects. It does contain some SSRIproperties, and resembles the older medications Serzone and Deseryl.
2. Ensam: (selegilene transdermal patch)
It comes in patch form, was originally approved for a neurological condition and is more of an MAOI. It works for patients who have dietary issues that make swallowing a pill difficult.
3. Valdoxan: (agomelatine)
Valdoxan has been tested in Europe: FDA submission is expected here next year. It is the first melatonergic antidepressant, is weight “neutral” and bears no sexual side effects. Since many depressed patients have trouble sleeping, this drug is welcome because of its sleep benefits. it also combines well with other antidepressants.
4. Ketamine and scopolamine:
Both of these produce rapid mood improvement. Conventional antidepressants take three to four weeks to produce a substantial improvement. Both are in the formative phases for application as mood stabilizers.
Did you know?
*For years, both thyroid hormone and lithium have been used to help control depression and are still prescribed.
*Antipsychotics like Abilify and Seroquel are being heavily marketed as anti-depressant therapy, when combined with actual antidepressants.
Dr. Hilty urges patients who are not responding to treatment to ask their psychiatrist for a second opinion. “Someone else may have a different read. Doctors shouldn’t be afraid of this.” Neither should we patients.
Thank you, Dr. Hilty.
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