Depression recurs in about half of treated adolescent patients

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Washington, Nov 02 (ANI): A report has shown that most depressed teens who receive treatment appear to recover, but the condition recurs in almost half of adolescent patients and even more often among females.

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 5.9 percent of teen females and 4.6 percent of teen males, according to background information in the article.

John Curry, of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and colleagues studied 196 adolescents (86 males and 110 females) who participated in the Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS).

The teens were randomly assigned to one of four short-term treatment interventions (medication with fluoxetine hydrochloride, cognitive behavioral therapy, a combination of the two or placebo) and followed up for five years.

Almost all participants (96.4 percent) recovered from their initial episode of depression during the follow-up period, including 88.3 percent who recovered within two years. Those who responded to a 12-week treatment session (short-term responders) were more likely to have recovered by two years (96.2 percent vs. 79.1 percent). However, two-year recovery was not associated with any particular type of treatment.

Of the 189 teens who recovered from depression, 88 (46.6 percent) experienced a recurrence.

"Contrary to our hypotheses, neither full response to short-term treatment nor treatment with a combination of fluoxetine and cognitive behavioral therapy reduced the risk of recurrence," the authors write.

"However, short-term treatment non-responders were more likely to experience recurrence than full and partial responders. Females were significantly more likely to have a recurrence than males."

Teens who also had an anxiety disorder were more likely to experience recurrence (61.9 percent vs. 42.2 percent of those without anxiety disorders). In addition, participants whose depression returned had higher scores on scales of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The report has been posted online and will appear in the March 2011 print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (ANI)

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