Does SSRI augmentation with antidepressants that influence noradrenergic function resolve depression in obsessive–compulsive disorder?
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BACKGROUND: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often coexists with major depressive disorder (MDD). Serotonergic antidepressant medications have emerged as the treatment of choice for both OCD and MDD. In the usual course of events, both the patient's OCD and depressive symptoms improve in parallel following initiation of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) treatment for OCD. However, such is not always the case. We report here on a series of ten patients whose OCD but not depression improved following a trial of SRI therapy. METHOD: Ten patients with OCD and comorbid MDD who experienced a worsening or exacerbation of depressive symptoms while being maintained on an adequate dose of SRI therapy were treated using a combination of SRIs and agents with effects on noradrenergic reuptake. Response to treatment was based on clinician-ratings of severity and improvement of OCD and MDD (CGI-S and CGI-I). RESULTS: Following augmentation, nine of the ten patients had a significant improvement/resolution of their MDD, with little further change in the severity of their OCD. LIMITATIONS: Inferences from the results of this study are limited by the lack of a control group, the small sample size, and the use of nonstandardized ratings as measures of symptom severity. CONCLUSIONS: These results are of practical significance to clinicians insofar as they suggest a possible guideline to clinicians treating depression in OCD with SSRIs without success.
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