Boston - For elderly people who suffer bouts of depression, drugs work surprisingly better than psychotherapy at keeping these black spells from returning, suggests the longest study ever in patients so old.The findings from the two-year study may encourage some doctors to prescribe antidepressants for longer periods, perhaps even for life, in patients who have been depressed.
"It's a good idea
for you to continue to take the medication indefinitely, just as you take your
blood pressure medication or diabetes medication," said psychiatrist Dr.
Charles Reynolds at the University of Pittsburgh, who led the study. "It's
a very new approach."Backed by the National Institutes of Health, the study
responds to a rising trend to prescribe medicine not just to treat depression,
but to keep it from coming back. Results were published Thursday in the New
England Journal of Medicine.
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