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UCLA researchers develop biomarker for rapid relief of major depression
Date:9/10/2009

alopram or were given a different drug. A total of 73 patients who remained on escitalopram were tracked for 49 days to see if their results matched the prediction of the ATR biomarker. The ATR predicted both response and remission with an accuracy rate of 74 percent, much higher than any other method available. The researchers also found that they could predict whether subjects were more likely to respond to a different antidepressant, bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin XL.

"Until now, other than waiting, there has been no reliable method for predicting whether a medication would lead to a good response or remission," said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and lead author of the study. "And that wait can be as long as 14 weeks. So these are very exciting findings for the patient suffering from depression. The BRITE results are a milestone in our efforts to develop clinically useful biomarkers for predicting treatment response in MDD."

Major depressive disorder is a leading cause of disability, costing society in excess of $80 billion annually; approximately two-thirds of these costs reflect the enormous disability associated with the disorder. An estimated 15 million people in the United States experience a depressive episode each year, and nearly 17 percent of adults will experience major depression in their lifetime.

"BRITE study results suggest that the ATR biomarker could potentially provide the greatest clinical benefit for those patients who might be receiving a medication that is unlikely to help them," Leuchter said. "Our results suggest that it may be possible to switch these patients to a more effective treatment quickly. This would help patients and their physicians avoid the frustration, risk and expense of long and ineffective medication trials."

Leuchter noted that research has shown that depression patients who do not get bette
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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