Do drugs give long-term improvement for teenage depression?

Thursday 4th November, 2010

Teenagers receiving drug treatment for depression may not experience long-term improvement, according to US researchers.

Professor John Curry and a team of researchers at Duke University in North Carolina studied nearly 200 children and teenagers aged 12-17 assigning each one four short-term treatments – Fluoxetine or Prozac drugs, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a combination of drug and CBT, or a placebo.

The group were followed up after a five year period and 95 per cent had recovered with 88.3 per cent recovering after a two year period.

However, 46.6 per cent of participants who recovered suffered another bout of major depression beyond the five year period. Female teenagers were more likely to relapse with 57 per cent suffering depression again compared with 33 per cent of males.

Professor Curry said that females are at a higher risk of suffering depression during adulthood and adolescence but are not more likely to suffer relapses than men.

“Further research needs to be done to confirm our findings and to sort out the variables that may be associated with recurrent major depression in young women,” said Professor Curry.

Findings did not indicate that any specific type of treatment reduced the likelihood of relapse but teenagers who responded in the first two years were most likely to experience long-term relief.



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