September 12, 2005

Sleep Deprivation Improves Antidepressant Response

Researchers in Turkey have been examining the effects of sertraline (Zoloft) monotherapy and sleep deprivation on patients quality of life, as well as their responsiveness to the medication. The participants were 24 individuals with major depressive disorder. Being that many people with bipolar disorder take SSRI's in addition to a mood stabilizer, this holds important meaning for them as well. Of course, a study done explicitly on those with bipolar disorder should be done before this can be concluded.

"In all, 13 of the patients received sertraline plus 6 nights of partial sleep deprivation. During these nights, which together with the following day were spent in the clinic, the patients were allowed to sleep from 11.00/12.00 pm to 3.00 am. Some special activities were provided and the patients were forbidden from napping the day after" (PsychiatryMatters.MD).

The average dose given was 61.53 mg/day for those getting sleep deprivation sleep therapy and 72.72 mg/day for those not additionally receiving such therapy. The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression was used to ascertain patients response. After 4 weeks those who had only been receiving sertraline had their depression scores reduced by an average of 47.39%. Those who had also been receiving sleep deprivation therapy had their scores reduced by an average of 85.81%.

12 of those receiving sleep deprivation and sertraline, compared to only 5 in the sertraline only group were determined to be responders to the treatment, this was determined if their depression scores reduced by 50% or more. Quality of life was found to improve more quickly in those receiving adjunctive sleep deprivation therapy. The WHO's Quality of Life Assessment found that those in the sleep deprivation group greatly improved on 5 of the 6 domains (physical health, psychological, social relations, environment, spirituality/personal beliefs) after 1 month, whereas no one in the sertraline only group improved significantly on any of the domains.

Researchers concluded that sleep deprivation can be used to lessen depression more quickly, and therefore can be used during the time it takes for antidepressants to come fully into effect.

Original Source: Sleep deprivation enhances antidepressant response. PsychiatryMatters.MD. 2005

This research article was published in J Affect Disord 2005; 88: 75-78.

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