Fact or Fiction? Test Your Knowledge on Residual and Treatment-Emergent Symptoms in Major Depressive Disorder

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Although major depressive disorder (MDD) has a profound impact on individuals, families, and society, it remains undertreated. There are currently more than 4 million US adults who are inadequately treated for MDD. Numerous studies show that antidepressant therapies are superior to placebo, but most adults with MDD do not achieve an adequate response with first-line pharmacotherapy. Inadequate response to antidepressant therapy is associated with greater medical morbidity, more hospitalizations, decreased productivity, and more suicide attempts. Treatment of MDD should strive for return to premorbid status and full functional and cognitive recovery. However, survey data show that health care providers may lack confidence in the management of patients who have an inadequate response to an antidepressant. The major barriers to achieving full recovery are the continuation of residual symptoms and treatment-emergent symptoms associated with antidepressants. Even in those responding to antidepressants, residual and treatment-emergent symptoms such as weight gain, sleep disturbance, and sexual dysfunction can impede adherence and recovery. Additionally, poor cognitive functioning is an obstacle to remission. Although tools are available for the evaluation and monitoring of cognitive function in patients with MDD, they remain underutilized. In this enduring activity, expert faculty will provide opportunities to enhance knowledge and competence in the ability to differentiate residual and treatment-emergent symptoms and better assess and manage symptoms using evidence-based strategies to optimize available therapies.

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