Research examines how to pinpoint the right antidepressants

In spite of the range of medications now available, major depression remains a challenging disease to treat. Only about half of adult patients respond to the first antidepressant they try, with only one-third achieving remission, reports the August 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. Most adults will try two or more medications before finding one that alleviates their depression.

When the first antidepressant doesn't provide adequate relief, patients and their clinicians face a challenging decision. Although two broad strategies exist—switching to a new drug or augmenting the first drug with a second—it hasn't been clear which is best.

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