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Open Access Research article

Treatment patterns in major depressive disorder after an inadequate response to first-line antidepressant treatment

Mauro Garcia-Toro1, Esteban Medina2, Jaime L Galan3, Miguel A Gonzalez4 and Jorge Maurino2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Son Llatzer, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

2 AstraZeneca Medical Department, Madrid, Spain

3 Hospital Quirón, Málaga, Spain

4 Quintiles, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:143  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-143

Published: 18 September 2012



The aim of the study was to determine the most common pharmacological strategies used in the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) after an inadequate response to first-line antidepressant treatment in clinical practice.


Multicenter, non-interventional study in adult outpatients with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of MDD and inadequate response to first-line antidepressant medication. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to identify independent factors associated with the adoption of a specific second-line strategy.


A total of 273 patients were analyzed (mean age: 46.8 years, 67.8% female). Baseline mean Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale total score was 32.1 (95%CI 31.2-32.9). The most common strategies were: switching antidepressant medication (39.6%), augmentation (18.8%), and combination therapy (17.9%). Atypical antipsychotic drugs were the most commonly used agent for augmenting antidepressant effect. The presence of psychotic symptoms and the number of previous major depressive episodes were associated with the adoption of augmenting strategy (OR = 3.2 and 1.2, respectively).


The switch to another antidepressant agent was the most common second-line therapeutic approach. Psychiatrists chose augmentation based on a worse patients’ clinical profile (number of previous episodes and presence of psychotic symptoms).

Major depressive disorder; Response; Antidepressant treatment; Augmentation; Switching; Combination