Surveys of psychiatric inpatients and in general practice have shown that depressive illnesses comprise over one-third of all psychiatric disorders. After remission of the depressive symptoms, should oral antidepressive therapy be continued in an attempt to prevent a relapse or recurrence of depression? Since most trials have assessed the efficacy of antidepressives for relatively short periods (usually a few weeks) the data on which to base this decision are meagre.
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