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The Timing of Antidepressant Effects: A Comparison of Diverse Pharmacological and Somatic Treatments

Experimental Therapeutics, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, and Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3(1), 19-41;
Received: 21 November 2009 / Revised: 17 December 2009 / Accepted: 29 December 2009 / Published: 6 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antidepressants)
Currently available antidepressants used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) unfortunately often take weeks to months to achieve their full effects, commonly resulting in considerable morbidity and increased risk for suicidal behavior. Our lack of understanding of the precise cellular underpinnings of this illness and of the mechanism of action of existing effective pharmacological treatments is a large part of the reason that therapies with a more rapid onset of antidepressant action (ROAA) have not been developed. Other issues that need to be addressed include heterogeneous clinical concepts and statistical models to measure rapid antidepressant effects. This review describes the timing of onset of antidepressant effects for various therapies used to treat MDD. While several agents produce earlier improvement of depressive symptoms (defined as occurring within one week), the response rate associated with such agents can be quite variable. These agents include both currently available antidepressants as well as other pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. Considerably fewer treatments are associated with ROAA, defined as occurring within several hours or one day. Treatment strategies for MDD whose sustained antidepressant effects manifest within hours or even a few days would have an enormous impact on public health. View Full-Text
Keywords: antidepressant; depression; ketamine; NMDA; rapid antidepressant; depression; ketamine; NMDA; rapid
MDPI and ACS Style

Machado-Vieira, R.; Baumann, J.; Wheeler-Castillo, C.; Latov, D.; Henter, I.D.; Salvadore, G.; Zarate, C.A., Jr. The Timing of Antidepressant Effects: A Comparison of Diverse Pharmacological and Somatic Treatments. Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3, 19-41.

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