Ketamine for severe depression: what can we conclude from a small open label study?

shutterstock_170733776

Last week the media reported widely on a study of ketamine for depression (McShane et al, 2014). As usual the headlines made bold assertions, the Telegraph running with “Horse tranquilliser Ketamine could cure severe depression” (Knapton, 2014). But what did the paper authored by an Oxford group and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology really [read the full story...]

Little differences among antidepressants regarding sexual dysfunction, but bupropion performs best

shutterstock_174197774

Antidepressant treatment is associated with a variety of side effects, including emotional changes, weight gain or fatigue. As pharmaceutical treatment has evolved, clinicians have become increasingly aware of another major adverse effect of modern antidepressants: sexual dysfunction. Current figures estimate that up to every second patient will, at some stage, experience reduced sexual function, which [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds that haloperidol is an effective antipsychotic, but its side effects can be problematic

shutterstock_108676748

Schizophrenia is a serious disorder characterised by delusions (including paranoid beliefs and hallucinations) and other symptoms such as blunted affect and reduced motivation. While relatively uncommon (lifetime prevalence is less than 1%), it is associated with serious social impairment (e.g., unemployment, homelessness), which in turn can result in physical health problems. As a result, the [read the full story...]

Atypical antipsychotics no better than typicals for adolescents with psychosis, but atypicals may have fewer short-term side effects

shutterstock_141889399

Schizophrenia is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that often starts during adolescence. Current treatment guidelines (NICE, 2013) recommend atypical antipsychotics for adolescents with this condition, but this is based largely on studies of adults with the condition. The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group conducted this systematic review to synthesise the current evidence base for atypical antipsychotic medication in [read the full story...]

Varenicline, smoking cessation and neuropsychiatric adverse events

shutterstock_140803288

Varenicline is a prescription drug to help people stop smoking that works by stimulating the nicotine receptors in the brain to reduce cravings and decrease the pleasure that results from smoking. Quit attempts aided by varenicline are up to 2-3 times more successful than those without (Cahill et al 2009 and 2012). However, following the [read the full story...]

Atomoxetine for adult ADHD: the harms outweigh the benefits, according to new systematic review

shutterstock_13076056

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental neurological condition affecting functioning in a number of domains, but in particular, the ability to focus and concentrate, and regulate activity levels.  This is a common disorder with 2.5-4.0% of adults meeting diagnostic criteria for ADHD (Fayyad et al, 2007), and this condition has significant impact on a persons [read the full story...]

Newer antipsychotics may increase the risk of pneumonia in schizophrenia

Pneumonia x-ray

Because of a more favourable side effects profile (not necessarily clinical superiority), second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are today the most commonly used drugs to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (Jones et al., 2006). While rather frequent adverse reactions, including weight gain, diabetes or sedation, are largely recognised, recent studies point at increased risk of pneumonia [read the full story...]

Cutting across diagnostic categories: Does stimulant medication improve ADHD symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder?

Young girl with pills

Until fairly recently, it was thought that autism spectrum disorder (ASD; previously known as PDD or pervasive developmental disorder) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were two entirely separate childhood-onset conditions and that they could not both be diagnosed in one individual. Numerous studies in the last decade have shown that, in reality, a number of [read the full story...]

Do antipsychotics cause progressive brain changes in schizophrenia?

People with schizophrenia taking antipsychotics saw a reduction in grey matter

For over 30 years researchers have found that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have, on average, differences on brain scans compared to people without.  Not everybody with a diagnosis of schizophrenia will have these differences and it has not yet been possible to use brain scanning as a test to work out whether someone [read the full story...]

Cochrane review says there’s insufficient evidence to tell whether fluoxetine is better or worse than other treatments for depression

shutterstock_65894887

Depression is common in primary care and associated with a substantial personal, social and societal burden. There is considerable ongoing controversy regarding whether antidepressant pharmacotherapy works and, in particular, for whom. One widely-prescribed antidepressant is fluoxetine (Prozac), an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class. Although a number of more recent antidepressants are [read the full story...]