Scientists at King’s College London have developed a blood test that accurately and reliably predicts whether depressed patients will respond to common antidepressants, which could herald a new era of personalised treatment for people with depression.
Guided by this test, patients with blood inflammation above a certain threshold could be directed towards earlier access to more assertive antidepressant strategies, such as a combination of antidepressants, before their condition worsens.
Patients who have blood inflammation above a certain threshold could be directed toward earlier access to more assertive antidepressant strategies
Approximately half of all depressed patients do not respond to first-line antidepressants and a third of patients are resistant to all available pharmacological treatments. Until now, it has been impossible to establish if individual patients will respond to common antidepressants or if they need a more assertive antidepressant treatment plan, which may include a combination of more than one medication.
The study, published by The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, focused on two biomarkers that measure blood inflammation.
Professor Carmine Pariante from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s and senior author of the study, said: ‘This study provides a clinically-suitable approach for personalising antidepressant therapy – patients who have blood inflammation above a certain threshold could be directed toward earlier access to more assertive antidepressant strategies, including the addition of other antidepressants or anti-inflammatory drugs.’
Dr Annamaria Cattaneo, first author from the IoPPN at King’s , said: ‘This moves us a step closer to providing personalised antidepressant treatment at the earliest signs of depression.’
This research was funded by the Medical Research Council and the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre.
For more information and for the full press release please visit the King’s website.