From the Editor

“Approximately 30% of patients treated for depression do not have a response to selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).” So notes an Editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine. And for those who don’t respond, what’s the next step? 

Unfortunately, though many elderly struggle with depression, this population is understudied. In a new paper published in the same journal, Dr. Eric J. Lenze (of the Washington University in St. Louis) and his co-authors attempt to answer that question with a two-step intervention. “In older adults with treatment-resistant depression, augmentation of existing antidepressants with aripiprazole improved well-being significantly more over 10 weeks than a switch to bupropion and was associated with a numerically higher incidence of remission. Among patients in whom augmentation or a switch to bupropion failed, changes in well-being and the occurrence of remission with lithium augmentation or a switch to nortriptyline were similar.” We look at the study and its clinical implications, as well as the accompanying Editorial.

And, in the other selection, Dr. Sandy Simpson (of the University of Toronto) considers the violence seen on public transit in Canada’s largest city. In an essay for The Globe and Mail, he mulls several factors and points a way forward, including by advocating a guaranteed basic income. “We are seeing now that we have failed to create a compassionate society, and that security and safety needs to extend to all people. To achieve this, we need a change in heart, and expenditure.”


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