Blood Tests Could Identify Those Who Will Respond Well To Depression Treatment

BloodTest

Finding the right medication to treat depression can be incredibly tricky and unfortunately often boils down to trial and error. Patients can be prescribed multiple ineffective medications before ever finding the right one and occasionally the side-effects can be devastating. Approximately half of all people who experience depression do not respond to medication.

Thankfully a new study suggests that may not always be the case. A team of researchers from King’s College in London says they have developed a blood test which can determine whether depression medications will be effective for an individual.

Past research has found a link between inflammation and an individual’s response to antidepressants, which inspired the latest team to look for two specific markers of inflammation in the blood of 140 patients with clinical depression.

According to the analysis, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, the patients with the highest levels of these inflammation markers were lease likely to respond to common antidepressants, while those with low inflammation markers were particularly likely to respond positively to these medications.

As study co-author Annamaria Cattaneo explained in a press release, these results “confirm and extend the mounting evidence that high levels of inflammation induce a more severe form of depression, which is less likely to respond to common antidepressants.

These findings could be a huge improvement in the course of treatment for depression as it could help many patients avoid months testing out medications that do not provide positive results for them. Instead, those who show high levels of inflammation might be able to immediately begin treatment methods that are more likely to work like pairing antidepressants with anti-inflammatories.

“This study moves us a step closer to providing personalized antidepressant treatment at the earliest signs of depression,” said Cattaneo, adding, “It is really crucial now to carry out a clinical study comparing the current clinical practice in antidepressant prescription, based on trial-and-error, with our novel approach of ‘personalized psychiatry,’ where the antidepressant treatment plan is guided by the blood test.”

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