Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Releases Free Special Report on Antidepressants

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Johns Hopkins Health Alerts has just released a free special report on antidepressants, The Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants, to help raise awareness of the new kinds of therapies available to relieve depression, including "winter depression", Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts has just released a free special report on antidepressants, The Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants, to help raise awareness of the new kinds of therapies available to relieve depression.

Depression can affect up to 50% of all people at some point in their lives. It can commonly occur after stressful events, such as the loss of a loved one or job, and frequently develops in conjunction with serious illness, such as heart disease or cancer.

Depression is particularly prevalent in the over 50s. Commonly referred to as "feeling blue" or "not feeling well" by people in that age group, depression is not always recognized for the serious medical condition it really is.

Often, depression sufferers do not seek help because they believe depression is a 'character weakness', and don't realize that it is usually caused by a chemical imbalance.

With the right diagnosis, depression is a highly treatable medical condition. This free special report, The Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants, gives you an overview of the many current options for treating depression safely and effectively, without too many unwanted side effects.

To download a free PDF copy of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants, please visit: Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants

About Johns Hopkins Health Alerts:
Johns Hopkins Health Alerts is a free public service which publishes articles and email health alerts on 15 different health topics. A new article is published every weekday to help keep you up to date on the latest breakthroughs for the most common medical conditions which prevent healthy aging.

Here is the most recent Johns Hopkins Health Alert on depression:

**Feeling SAD due to winter depression? An antidepressant may help**

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCL extended-release tablets) for the prevention of major depressive episodes in people with a history of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by recurrent bouts of major depression that coincide with the shorter daylight hours of autumn and winter (thus the nickname "winter depression").

At this time of year, changes in the amount of daily sunlight cause changes in the body's internal biological clock, known as circadian rhythm.

This rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that affects our eating and sleeping patterns, brain wave activity, hormone production, and other biological activities. In some people, less daily sunlight and changes in circadian rhythm can bring about depression.

One theory is that the relative lack of sunlight during these times may alter brain levels of certain mood-related chemicals. People with seasonal affective disorder often eat and sleep excessively, crave sugary or starchy foods, and have a full remission of seasonal affective disorder in the spring and summer when more daily sunlight is available.

Wellbutrin XL is the first drug officially approved for the prevention of major depressive episodes in people with a history of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The efficacy of Wellbutrin XL for the prevention of seasonal affective disorder episodes was demonstrated in three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials -- the gold standard of medical research -- in adults with a history of recurrent major depressive disorder in autumn and winter.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder was started before the onset of symptoms in the autumn (September to November) and was discontinued following a two-week taper starting the first week of spring (fourth week of March).

In these trials, the percentage of patients who were depression-free at the end of treatment was significantly higher for those on Wellbutrin XL than for those on placebo. Combining data from all three studies, the overall rate of patients depression-free at the end of treatment was 84% for those on Wellbutrin XL, compared to 72% for those on placebo.

These findings have not surprised psychiatrists and primary care physicians, who have long been using antidepressant drugs off label for treating seasonal affective disorder. But the stamp of approval by the FDA adds credibility to this treatment approach.

FURTHER RESOURCES:
For more free articles and special reports on depression, please visit:
Johns Hopkins Health Alerts

Download a copy of the FREE Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants at:
Johns Hopkins Guide to Antidepressants

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