(BPT) - This article is sponsored by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck.
In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million American adults suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD), or depression. Depression is a serious mental illness characterized by symptoms that last at least two weeks, cause significant functional impairment, and can occur, on and off, anywhere from months to years.
"Although depression affects each individual patient differently, it generally impacts how they feel, think and behave. Depression may also be associated with physical symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches and changes in sleep and appetite," says Dr. Vladimir Maletic, a leading psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Depression causes, diagnosis, and treatment
Dr. Maletic explains that depression can affect anyone and does not have a single cause. In fact, current research suggests that depression results from an interaction of life adversity and genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Diagnosis of depression is primarily based on a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. Physical exam, imaging studies and lab tests may provide supportive information or help with differential diagnosis. Most commonly a clinician relies on a combination of these diagnostic methods.
"While treatment differs for each patient, it typically includes psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants, add-on therapies or some combination of these methods for some period of time, as decided by a patient and their health care provider. Quite often additional treatment recommendations include exercise, dietary changes, meditation, and other wellness-promoting practices. Furthermore, it is very important to identify and properly address other psychiatric and general medical disorders as they may worsen the course of illness," says Dr. Maletic.
When antidepressants alone may not be enough
Despite taking an antidepressant, many people may still suffer from symptoms of depression. If a patient has been on an antidepressant and is still dealing with symptoms of depression, it's important that they talk to their health care provider about what treatment options may be right for them. It's essential that patients keep providers informed about their symptoms so they can make dosage adjustments, switch or add on therapies, as needed.
Some patients on an antidepressant may still experience depressive symptoms. This means that a patient may have made some progress with their current treatment regimen, but still struggles with lingering symptoms of depression. This is sometimes called “partial response.”
“Having a partial response to an antidepressant is not uncommon and I encourage patients to speak with their health care team if they continue to experience their depressive symptoms on an antidepressant. It is important that patients know that there are additional options," says Dr. Maletic.
Dr. Maletic says adjunctive or add-on medications may be one of those options.
REXULTI® (brexpiprazole) works with antidepressants
For adult patients taking an antidepressant for at least two months, but aren't seeing the progress they hoped for, adding REXULTI to their antidepressant medication may help reduce their depression symptoms — without giving up on the progress they’ve already made with their current antidepressant.
REXULTI is a prescription medicine used to treat major depressive disorder in adults. REXULTI is used with antidepressant medicines, when their healthcare provider determines that an antidepressant alone is not enough to treat their depression. REXULTI may cause serious side effects, including an increased risk of death in elderly people with dementia-related psychosis and risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. Please read the IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION below.
"It is always important that patients feel empowered to talk with their doctor, if they’re not seeing the progress they'd hoped for after a couple of months on their current antidepressant, patients should speak with their healthcare provider. Frequent and open communication is especially important for patients suffering from depression,” stresses Dr. Maletic. "There are options for making adjustments to therapies and medications that may help patients achieve adequate symptom relief for depression, which may include the addition of REXULTI."
Learn more at www.rexulti.com.
INDICATION and IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION for REXULTI® (brexpiprazole)
REXULTI is a prescription medicine used to treat:
It is not known if REXULTI is safe and effective in people under 18 years of age.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take REXULTI if you are allergic to brexpiprazole or any of the ingredients in REXULTI. Allergic reactions have included rash, facial swelling, hives and itching, and anaphylaxis, which may include difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue.
REXULTI may cause serious side effects, including:
Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how REXULTI affects you. REXULTI may make you feel drowsy.
Before taking REXULTI, tell your healthcare provider if you:
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take or recently have taken, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. REXULTI and other medicines may affect each other causing possible serious side effects.
REXULTI may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how REXULTI works.
Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take REXULTI with your other medicines.
Do not start or stop any medicines while taking REXULTI without talking to your healthcare provider first.
The most common side effects of REXULTI include weight gain and an inner sense of restlessness such as feeling like you need to move.
Tell your healthcare provider if you experience abnormal muscle spasms or contractions, which may be a sign of a condition called dystonia.
These are not all the possible side effects of REXULTI. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about your health or medicines, including side effects.
You are encouraged to report side effects of REXULTI (brexpiprazole). Please contact Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. at 1-800-438-9927 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (www.fda.gov/medwatch).
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