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How long to wait for a response to an antidepressant?

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Review of Henssler J et al. Trajectories of acute antidepressant efficacy: how long to wait forresponse. J Clin Psychiatry 2018; 79:17r11470.

Key points

  • A systematic review assessed response rates from continuing antidepressant treatment in non-responders.

  • Analysis of five trials showed a probability of response of around 22% between weeks 5 and 8 compared with 13% with placebo.

  • Between weeks 8 and 12, the improvement with continued treatment was 10% compared with 2.4% in the placebo group.

In patients with major depressive disorder who did not respond to treatment at 4 weeks, the number-needed-to-treat to achieve a response at 8 weeks with continued treatment, compared with placebo, was 11.1


This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to estimate how likely it was that people who initially did not respond to antidepressant …

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  • Contributors DTB team.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.