Antidepressant and Antipsychotic Treatment of Psychotic Major Depression in a British Mental Healthcare Setting

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Background: Evidence from treatment trials shows that the most effective pharmacological treatment for Psychotic Major Depression (PMD) is combined antidepressant and antipsychotic pharmacotherapy. Aim: This study investigates the use of antidepressant and antipsychotic treatment for PMD in clinical practice, and examines how treatment profiles correlate with demographic and clinical symptoms. Method: Anonymised electronic health records of 2,837 individuals with PMD were followed-up for 12-months post-diagnosis in a historic open cohort design. The use of antidepressants and antipsychotics, alone or in combination, were described using frequency statistics. Demographic and clinical characteristics associated with each treatment were assessed using logistic regression analyses. Results: Antidepressant and antipsychotic combination pharmacotherapy was the most used treatment for PMD with 69.9% users, compared to antidepressant monotherapy (10.9%) and antipsychotic monotherapy (10.3%). The remaining 8.9% of individuals did not receive antidepressant or antipsychotic treatment. The presence of delusions was strongly associated with the use of antipsychotics, both alone (odds ratio =3.99, 95% confidence intervals=2.72-5.83, p<.001) and in combination with antidepressants (OR=2.7, 95% CI=2.09-3.67, p<.001), rather than antidepressant treatment alone. Conclusions: Combined antidepressant and antipsychotic pharmacotherapy is the most common treatment of PMD in clinical practice, showing that clinical practice is in line with evidence from treatment research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Feb 2021


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