The British Journal of Psychiatry produces short reports which are a useful way of disseminating important research findings. In the August 2008 edition, there is a research article on antidepressant maintenance therapy. The research is from the Finnish Vantaa Depression study. Vantaa is the fourth biggest town in Finland. The study initially recruited 806 people in psychiatric services. If people had 3 or more major depressive episodes amd at least 2 months of remission they were identified as being suitable for maintenance antidepressant therapy. There were 269 patients with major depression although suitable information was available on the 218 people finally included in the study. Maintenance therapy was received in only 57% of appropriate cases. A number of predictive factors were identified but when the researchers used a technique known as logistic regression analysis they found that the only predictive variable was whether or not people had taken their medication as indicated in the short term. Continuing maintenance treatment should reduce the risk of relapse. So if people have many depressive episodes, looking at their pattern of taking medication in the acute phase of their illness should have benefits for how they do in the longer term. However, this separate question suits another research study.
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