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Bares M, Novak T, Kopecek M, Stopkova P, Kozeny J, Höschl C. The early improvement of depressive symptoms as a potential predictor of response to antidepressants in depressive patients who failed to respond to previous antidepressant treatments. Analysis of naturalistic data. Eur Psychiatry 27, 2012;7:522-527

1. 12. 2011


Introduction: Current studies suggest that improvement of depressive symptoms after 2 weeks of treatment could predict the subsequent response. The aim of our study was to compare the predictive effect of early improvement (EI) after 1 and 2 weeks of treatment in patients who had failed to respond to previous antidepressant treatments (1 unsuccessful antidepressant trial).

Method: Seventy-one subjects were treated (4 weeks) with various antidepressants chosen according to the judgment of attending psychiatrists. We used three definitions of EI (MADRS reduction  20, 25, 30%) at both time points. Areas under curve (AUC) were calculated to compare predictive effect of EI.

Results: We found lower MADRS scores in weeks 1 and 2 in responders ( 50% reduction of MADRS,n=35) compared to nonresponders. AUCs of MADRS reduction for response prediction at week 1 and 2 were not significantly different (0.73 vs 0.8; p = 0.24).

Conclusion: The results indicate that improvement of depressive symptoms in the treatment of resistant patients may occur after the first week of treatment. The predictive potential might be comparable to that found after the second week of antidepressant intervention and be clinically meaningful.