Project details


Recovering from depression: why some do and some don’t

antidepressants personalized recovery

Prof. dr. M.Y. Berger
dr. H. Burger
prof. dr. R.A. Schoevers
S.M. van Belkum

Type of project:
Stage Wetenschap / Researchproject of Stage Wetenschap / Researchproject

Nature of the research:
Prospective cohort study

Fields of study:
epidemiology GP medicine psychiatry

Background / introduction
Over 1 million Dutch people currently get an antidepressant prescribed, with depression as the main indication. Although the effectiveness of antidepressant medication (AD) in the treatment of depression is well-established on the group level, it is still hard to predict whether an individual patient can be expected to recover or not. This knowledge is extremely valuable for making well-grounded individual treatment choices.
For this project, we are looking for a student who would like to explore the question of which patient improves from the use of anti-depressive treatment and which patient does not. Why one and not the other? What are the characteristics of the two groups? The literature is still scanty is this regard.
The student will investigate in a large cohort of SSRI users (N ~ 600) who participated in the Optimal, PERsonalized Antidepressant (OPERA) study whether recovery can be predicted and which predictors are most powerful. Outcomes to these highly relevant questions will be included in a preliminary ‘forecasting model’.
Research question / problem definition
Among patients who have not recovered a year after starting treatment for their depression, what has their treatment been like? Has that been different from the treatment of patients who have recovered or are there other factors that could explain this difference?
1. Understand the OPERA study on the course of depression in a naturalistic cohort of adults with depression who started with antidepressants (citalopram or sertraline) at most two years before inclusion and perform some exploratory data analyses
2. Formulate hypotheses in line with the research question and based on literature
3. Define predictors and outcomes and create a database for the analyses
4. Perform the analyses with the help of a senior epidemiologist
5. Write the report
Borges S, Chen YF, Laughren TP, Temple R, Patel HD, David PA, et al. Review of maintenance trials for major depressive disorder: a 25-year perspective from the US Food and Drug Administration. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014;75(3):205-14.
Arroll B, Elley CR, Fishman T, Goodyear-Smith FA, Kenealy T, Blashki G, et al. Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009(3):CD007954.
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