Treatment-resistant depression is a fascinating yet poorly defined condition. The various management strategies in use are a source of controversy. The objective of this survey was to determine how Canadian psychiatrists treat patients with “intractable depression.” This information may be used to plan future research into the management of treatment-resistant depression. It may also provide information about the practices of Canadian psychiatrists and help direct residency training.
Confidential questionnaires were mailed to all psychiatrists residing in Canada registered with the Canadian Psychiatric Association. Respondents indicated that 12.4% of their depressed patients were “resistant to treatment.” Respondents were asked to rank a list of treatment choices in the order they would use them to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression. Ninety-five point eight percent of respondents used tricyclics as the first treatment of choice. Almost equal portions of respondents chose a second tricyclic, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or a combination of lithium and tricyclics as their treatment of second choice.