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Research to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Medication for Geriatric Depression

Annapolis, MD, March 2003 - Clinical Research Associate? is screening male and female volunteers aged 60 and older to participate in a medically supervised research study for the treatment of Geriatric Depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.6 million American adults suffer from a depressive illness during any one-year period. Fifteen out of every 100 adults will experience a depressive episode at some point during their elderly years. Major Depression often causes despair so profound that a person loses interest in life.

The Psychiatric Times reports depression in the elderly patient is often misdiagnosed, unrecognized, or masked by underlying somatic ailments or cognitive deficits. Untreated depression can lead to physical illness, institutionalization, psychosocial deterioration and suicide. The prevalence of depression is high among the elderly. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of persons aged 60 years or older without cognitive impairment have major depression in long term or acute-care facilities.

Since its earliest known descriptions, depression has been observed as a disruption of normal lifestyle. Major depressive disorder is one of two serious mood disorders (the other is bipolar disorder or manic depressive disorder) that affect every aspect of life. About 40 percent of depressed adults receive mental health care in primary care settings, where depressive disorders are as prevalent (5 to 9 percent) as many major chronic conditions such as diabetes. Depression is a chronic and often recurring disorder with high levels of social and occupational impairment. It is characterized by a sustained, extreme state of dejection and sadness.

Antidepressant medication works by helping to correct the imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, These medications may take several weeks to be effective, but work well and are generally safe. There are three main groups of antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). SSRIs are the newest class of antidepressants. They help relieve symptoms of depression by increasing the available supply of serotonin, a substance in the brain believed to influence mood.

New research is being conducted for major depressive disorder in older adults to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a medication already approved as safe and effective for the treatment of MD]) in adults (18-65). Qualified participants will receive study related exams, lab tests, electrocardiogram, and study medication. Potential study volunteers can call 1-888-86-MOODS (1-888-866-6637) for an initial prescreening and additional information.


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