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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;48(1):71-8. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e318190043e.

Early prediction of acute antidepressant treatment response and remission in pediatric major depressive disorder.

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  • 1University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, TX 75390-8589, USA.



: Less than half of youths achieve remission (minimal to no symptoms) after acute antidepressant treatment. Early identification of who will or will not respond to treatment and achieve remission may help clinicians formulate treatment decisions and shorten the time spent on ineffective treatments. In a prospective open-label fluoxetine study, we investigate indicators of acute treatment response and remission.


: One hundred sixty-eight children and adolescents, ages 7 to 18 years, with primary diagnoses of major depressive disorder received 12 weeks of fluoxetine treatment. The youths were evaluated using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. The outcome measure included the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised.


: Positive first-degree family history of depression was the only baseline demographic and clinical characteristic that predicted a favorable treatment response (p =.01). The rate of symptom improvement, however, is a good indicator of acute treatment response. A significant symptom reduction (approximately 50%) by week 4 is needed to achieve remission at the end of acute treatment.


: This study demonstrated that the rate of symptom improvement during early weeks of acute fluoxetine treatment is a good indicator of remission. Treatment approach may be reevaluated and modified as early as week 4 during acute treatment.Clinical trials registration information-Determining Optimal Continuation Treatment Duration for Depressed Children and Adolescents. URL: Unique identifier: NCT00332787.

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