Doubling up on antidepressants may help some elderly, study finds

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An extra dose of an additional antidepressant may be all that is needed to get a better response from older adults with depression when they aren't responding to a standard treatment, researchers say.

Half of patients who did not respond to initial treatment with paroxetine (which is marketed under the brand name Paxil) and two-thirds of the patients who relapsed after initial treatment responded to therapy that included adding a second antidepressant to first-line therapy.

Although the addition of a second antidepressant to first-line therapy is not recommended for all older adults whose depression has not improved, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh believe the study findings can help expand the strategies available for elderly patients who are medically able to take a second antidepressant.

The study appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.