Fast Five Quiz: Pharmacologic Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder

Claudia L. Reardon, MD


August 26, 2022

In general, depression-focused psychotherapy is recommended in the continuation phase together with antidepressant medication, with the most compelling data pointing to CBT, according to the 2020 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for mood disorders.

Patients who have been treated successfully with antidepressant medications in the acute phase should continue treatment with these agents for 6-9 months. In general, the dose used in the acute phase should also be used in the continuation phase.

For many patients, some form of maintenance therapy is recommended indefinitely (eg, patients who have chronic major depressive disorder or who have had three or more prior major depressive episodes). Maintenance therapy should also be considered for patients with risk factors for recurrence, such as early-onset and family history of mood disorders. During the maintenance phase, the antidepressant medication that successfully induced remission during the acute phase and maintained remission during the continuation phase should be taken at the same dosage.

Learn more about long-term monitoring of depression.


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