For Heart Disease Related Depression, Meds an Important Part of Treatment
> 1/24/2007 10:31:10 AM

A team of Canadian researchers has found that for those whose heart disease has been accompanied by depression, SSRI treatment may be the most effective strategy for care. Writing in their study published in JAMA, they concluded that:

We found a clinically meaningful antidepressant effect of citalopram in comparison with placebo but no demonstrable benefit of the psychotherapeutic intervention, IPT, over clinical management alone. Citalopram (or sertraline, as previously shown in the SADHART trial) plus clinical management should be considered for the initial acute-phase treatment for major depression in patients with [coronary artery disease].

Those with heart disease have been shown to be more likely then otherwise healthy individuals to have comorbid depression. As the NIMH points out:

While about 1 in 20 American adults experiences major depression in a given year, the number goes to about one in three for people who have survived a heart attack.

This new research from the University of Montreal, while not without its drawbacks, demonstrates that in the sizable population of heart disease sufferers afflicted with depression, treatment with SSRIs can have positive effects and often in as little as six weeks. What the group was unable to ascertain, was whether or not those who received prescriptions along with proper follow up and medication management lived any longer as a result or saw any improvement in their coronary artery disease symptoms. In the same issue of JAMA, two physicians point out this potential as part of an essay available only to subscribers, and note the urgent need for more study.

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