Diabetes drug could be used to treat depression

Thu, 03 May 2012
A common drug taken by patients with type 2 diabetes could also prove effective in the treatment of depression, according to a new study from Iran.

The research, reported in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, claimed that pioglitazone, which goes by the brand name of Actos, could help to boost the impact of antidepressants in some people, regardless of whether they are diabetic.

The study involved 40 patients with moderate to severe depression, some of who were given the antidepressant citalopram by itself and some who took it in conjunction with pioglitazone over a six-week period. The patients who received the combination therapy experienced less symptoms of depression.

Although more work needs to be done, the scientists are hopeful their findings will lead to a better understanding of how diabetes drugs such as pioglitazone can help to boost the effectiveness of some antidepressants, especially as many people given single antidepressants do not properly respond to the treatment.

Shahin Akhondzadeh of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said "Despite the advent of several antidepressant medications, the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) is still far from optimal."

He added "A large proportion of patients with MDD do not respond to their first medication. To achieve favourable response, these patients are generally treated by either switching to another treatment or with augmentation therapy. Recently, combination therapy from the beginning of treatment has been suggested to achieve higher responses and remission rates."
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