Author(s): Rush AJ, Trivedi MH, Wisniewski SR, Nierenberg AA, Stewart JW,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: This report describes the participants and compares the acute and longer-term treatment outcomes associated with each of four successive steps in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial. METHOD: A broadly representative adult outpatient sample with nonpsychotic major depressive disorder received one (N=3,671) to four (N=123) successive acute treatment steps. Those not achieving remission with or unable to tolerate a treatment step were encouraged to move to the next step. Those with an acceptable benefit, preferably symptom remission, from any particular step could enter a 12-month naturalistic follow-up phase. A score of or=11 (HRSD(17)>or=14) defined relapse. RESULTS: The QIDS-SR(16) remission rates were 36.8\%, 30.6\%, 13.7\%, and 13.0\% for the first, second, third, and fourth acute treatment steps, respectively. The overall cumulative remission rate was 67\%. Overall, those who required more treatment steps had higher relapse rates during the naturalistic follow-up phase. In addition, lower relapse rates were found among participants who were in remission at follow-up entry than for those who were not after the first three treatment steps. CONCLUSIONS: When more treatment steps are required, lower acute remission rates (especially in the third and fourth treatment steps) and higher relapse rates during the follow-up phase are to be expected. Studies to identify the best multistep treatment sequences for individual patients and the development of more broadly effective treatments are needed.
This article was published in Am J Psychiatry and referenced in Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology & Mental Health