Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Background: Research on treatment of depression has raised concerns regarding adequacy of medication trials and rationality of drug choice. Little data exists regarding pharmacotherapy by psychiatric residents. As practice habits begun in training will likely persist after graduation, examination of residents' antidepressant use may ultimately improve treatment by psychiatrists.

Methods: Charts of new patients presenting to the Wake Forest University Psychiatry Resident Clinic were reviewed. Survey was made of medications prescribed to 112 patients diagnosed with major depression, dysthymia, depressive disorder NOS, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, or bipolar disorder with a documented depression during the studied period. Drug choice and maximum dose were noted.

Results: Most-prescribed antidepressants included sertraline, trazodone, citalopram, mirtazapine, venlafaxine, and bupropion. The most used tricyclic antidepressant was amitriptyline (n=7), with an average highest dose of 110.7 mg per day. No MAOIs were prescribed. Augmentation treatment with lithium was prescribed twice and thyroid hormone once. No patients received ECT.

Conclusions: Depressed patients in this resident clinic were treated primarily with SSRIs and other newer antidepressants. Little use was made of TCAs, MAOIs, ECT or traditional augmentation strategies. Further research should aim to determine whether more education in older antidepressant treatment modalities should be emphasized.

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