How should medications be selected for the treatment of major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

There is evidence to support the use of all antidepressants approved by the FDA for use in major depression, although predicting what an individual patient’s response to a particular agent will be is difficult. Assuming adherence to the treatment regimen and lack of drug or disease-state interactions, treatment for 2-12 weeks at a therapeutic-dose level is usually needed to achieve a clinical response. The choice of medication should be guided by anticipated safety and tolerability, physician familiarity, and personal and family history of previous treatments. (See Medications.)

This article focuses on major depressive disorder in adults. For information on depression in children and adolescents, see the Medscape Reference article Pediatric Depression. For information on depression in bipolar disorder, see Bipolar Affective Disorder.


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