Treatment for Depression Could Improve with Blood Tests that Reveal Drugs that will not help

A blood test could help doctors tremendously by identifying which drugs will be not be effective for each patient.  In a recent study, an analysis of blood samples was able to show high levels of inflammation in a patient and help predict which drugs may not be useful for that particular patient. Another recent study identified a link between increased inflammation and lower success rates from treatment.  

As of right now, the treatment for depression consists of a process of trial and error, with doctors prescribing a patient a particular drug for up to 12 weeks and observing that patient for any signs of improvement.  If no progress is made, the doctor prescribes a new drug, or combination of drugs, until one is found to be effective.  It can be difficult to find the right drug for a particular patient with there being so many different drugs available to treat depression.  Also there are many different levels of depression meaning some people might have a much more serious case than others. This can make it very difficult for the doctor to make the correct decision on which drug to prescribe to their patients.  Hopefully these blood tests will make it easier for the doctor to correctly prescribe the right drug for that particular patient.

Depression comes in many forms and can come anytime in one's life

Depression, formerly known as melancholia, is probably the most widely known psychiatric disorder in the world. This mental health condition affects 350 million worldwide.  The majority of suicide deaths are people who suffer from depression.  Additionally, in many developed countries suicide unfortunately is a very frequent cause of death.  Suicide lies in the top 10 of frequent causes of death. Severity of depression varies depending on gender.

For some people, depression is never a problem they have to endure. However in some cases a person's depression can vary from a mild case to severe.  It is also different depending on your gender. According to the graph, more females 12 and over took antidepressants compared to males whether their case was mild, moderate or severe.  This chart shows the percentage of males and females who take antidepressants based on their case of depression.

Although treatment for depression can vary, the most common treatment is prescription of antidepressant drugs.  Depression can be very difficult to treat.  Common symptoms for depression include a persistent sad, anxious or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and thoughts of suicide.

It is estimated that half of all patients with depression will not even feel better after the first few weeks of taking a brand new drug. Once the correct drug is prescribed to a patient, depression can become very treatable.  This blood test will eliminate the time where people do not respond to the drug they were prescribed.  It will help doctors make a much more accurate decision for which drug to prescribe to each patient.  The common drugs that treat depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac.

How these blood tests play a role in treating depression more effectively

In a test, 140 people with depression took a blood test and began a course of treatment.  There is a direct correlation between inflammation and the severity of depression.  The team of doctors then tested for two biological markers in their blood known as MIF and (lL)-1B.  The blood tests are able to show with 100% accuracy when patients will not respond to these first-line drugs.  People with the lowest level of inflammation were the most responsive to treatment.  

These blood tests are going to improve quality of care.  They will be able to reveal which drug each particular patient should take.  Research by this team have also been able to use these blood tests to identify factors relating to depression, including markers to be able to legitimately diagnose someone who has depression.  This is a huge deal because now doctors can start helping you as soon as you are diagnosed with depression.  And all you need is a blood test.  Doctors will immidiately be able to treat patients and the blood test will also reveal which drug to be prescribed so that the patient does not go through 12 weeks of taking a drug and having no reaction to it.

Astounding facts about depression that you may not know

Depression is a condition that reportedly affects 1 in every 10 people at one point in their lives.  Over 80% of people with symptoms of depression are not even receiving the medical attention they need. Also, the number of people diagnosed increases at an astounding 20% per year.  

In the US, states that have high rates of depression also happen to have high rates of obesity, heart disease, stroke, sleep disorders, and lack of education.  Some states with high rates of depression include Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia.  

Depression is most prevalent in people ages 45-64.  A lot of people think that it would be most prevalent in teens or young adults but statistics show that it is more common in people of 45-64.  In terms of gender, depression is more common for women than it is for men.  Women are twice as likely to have depression and symptoms of depression as men of the same exact age.  


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