According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the main causes of disability in Americans aged between 15 and 44.3 years. The mental disorder, which is more prevalent in women than in men, affects nearly 6.7 percent of the U.S. population (more than 15 million adults aged 18 years or above) in a given year.
Although the basic symptoms of MDD are, somewhat, similar to that of depression, some of its symptoms could be highly intense or severe. A person with MDD may experience varying symptoms ranging from persistent irritability, loss of interest in activities to insomnia or restlessness. However, research is going on to develop new and innovative techniques to address the disorder and give relief to millions of people grappling with the devastating symptoms.
Although antidepressants are the first line of treatment, they are often combined with therapies and other modes of treatment, depending on the severity of the symptoms. However, many a times, the regular mode of treatment may not work for some individuals, who might be suffering from a treatment-resistant major depression disorder (TR-MDD).
Effects of Dalhousie serotonin cocktail on depression
The Dalhousie serotonin cocktail is a combination pharmacotherapy involving drugs such as pindolol, tryptophan and nefazodone. According to an old study titled “The ‘Dalhousie serotonin cocktail’ for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder,” published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the cocktail can be an effective treatment for TR-MDD.
As part of the study, Dalhousie serotonin cocktail was given to five TR-MDD patients who did not respond to the prior treatment with at least four different antidepressant medication. They were administered with 300 mg/day of nefazodone, 7.5 mg/day of pindolol and 1 g/day of tryptophan for a period of 20 weeks. During the period, while the dosage of pindolol was kept unchanged, the dosages of tryptophan and nefazodone were gradually increased to 8 g/day and 450 mg/day, respectively.
By four weeks, all the patients reported a 50 percent decrease in their MDD, in accordance to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), with none of them reporting any significant adverse effect of the cocktail medication. “These results suggest that if serotonin availability and release is further enhanced by tryptophan in the presence of nefazodone and pindolol, an antidepressant effect may be produced in patients who are otherwise treatment-resistant,” said the researchers.
Challenges faced in treating TR-MDD
Diagnosing depression is often difficult as many people fail to recognize the symptoms and signs. Unfortunately, a majority of the people suffering from depression seek medical help when the disorder reaches its severity. As a result, the chronic depression might transform into TR-MDD. According to a 2015 study titled, “Challenging Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder: A Roadmap for Improved Therapeutics,” published in the journal of Current Neuropharmacology, the economic burden of MDD is estimated to be about USD 83 billion annually, attributed to an array of psychosocial factors, including loss of workdays. Most importantly, unsuccessful treatments also account for a significant part of this burden.
Road to recovery
Early diagnosis is the key to all concerns. It is important for all to be aware of the depressive symptoms and seek medical help immediately without letting the problem to grow further. In case someone is diagnosed with MDD, it becomes necessary to get in touch with a certified center that has been approved and equipped with modern and new methods of treating the condition.
If you or your loved one is struggling with depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline to find the top depression recovery centers in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our counselors to find the best rehabilitation centers for depression in your area.
Read the other articles of the series “Dealing with treatment-resistant major depression:”