Not everyone responds to depression medication or treatment in the same way; so part of the job of a psychiatrist in Singapore is to determine which treatments or medications will be least invasive to the patient’s lifestyle while being most effective for curbing the disorder. However, there is a lack of useful metrics available to gauge whether a medication might be effective for a patient, based on available data.
In a recent study, researchers experimented with different combinations of medications and compared common features of different sets of patients. The goal was to determine some factors that psychiatrists could use to predict how well a specific medication or treatment would work for a particular patient.
The Research Process
The study authors were Madhukar H. Trivedi, Manish K Jha, Thomas J. Carmody, A. John Rush, and Charles South. The team selected a pool of 665 people seeking treatment for non-psychotic major depressive disorder. Then they split up those patients into three different groups. One group took escitalopram and a placebo pill; another group took escitalopram along with a bupropion-SR drug; and the third group took a combination of venlafaxine and mirtazapine.
Before taking any of the medications, the researchers gave patients essential information and obtained their informed consent. Various review boards were involved, and an independent board kept an eye on the process to ensure data security.
Results of the Study
By the end of the process, the patients were categorised as in remission, experiencing no meaningful benefit, or neither (some other reaction or result). By carefully evaluating the symptoms, results, and other factors, the researchers began to develop usable metrics. They were able to create a couple of predictive equations, founded on specific baseline variables” according to the published study.
Sifting through results and trying to design a metric for actionable predictions is an extremely complex process. However, according to the authors, this is the first study to establish factors that contribute to each of the major outcomes:
- A patient who will experience remission from the prescribed medication
- A patient who will experience no benefit from the prescribed medication.
Benefits for Psychiatrists in Singapore
Although the study’s authors say that more investigation is needed, experts on mental health in Singapore may be able to start generally predicting whether certain types of medications are likely to work for patients suffering from depression in Singapore. If it’s unlikely that a specific medication will be effective because of lifestyle, age, mental health status or other factors, the psychiatrist can skip that stage altogether and move on to a medication that might actually help.
Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore provides a quiet, secure, confidential space where you can begin finding your way out of the darkness of depression. One of our skilled psychologists or psychiatrists will meet with you, evaluate your condition, and recommend treatment or medication that can help you recover your joy and your zest for life. Take the time to make an appointment with us.
Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic Blog Team