Do old stimulant drugs have a role in managing treatment-resistant depression?
A new study supports the role of the ‘old’ psychostimulant antidepressant drugs for those patients with melancholic and bipolar depressions who are treatment resistant or who have had significant side-effects to previous or current antidepressant medications. These older antidepressants, methylphenidate and dexamphetamine, have been largely neglected in recent decades, due to concerns about efficacy, tolerance and dependence. But in this study, conducted by researchers Professor Gordon Parker and Dr Heather Brotchie from the Black Dog Institute, there were distinctive clinical benefits for a significant percentage from these psychostimulant drugs – evaluated in a sample of 50 patients (60 percent female and with an average age of 49 years). The study has been published in the latest internationally renowned psychiatric journal, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. “Two-thirds of these patients with treatment-resistant depressive conditions benefited from a psychostimulant prescribed as mono