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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 10

of 'Unipolar depression in adults: Treatment with lithium'

Lithium augmentation therapy in refractory depression-update 2002.
Bauer M, Forsthoff A, Baethge C, Adli M, Berghöfer A, Döpfmer S, Bschor T
Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003;253(3):132.
Lithium has been used to augment the efficacy of antidepressant medications for more than 20 years. The present study examines whether evidence exists to support the clinical efficacy of lithium augmentation in refractory, treatment resistant depression. Studies were identified by searching Medline (1980 to August 2002) and by scanning the references of published reviews and standard textbooks. Studies were selected if they were open-labeled or double-blind, placebo-controlled or comparator trials that involved patients who had not responded to conventional antidepressants. 27 prospective studies were identified that included a total of 803 depressed patients displaying the following designs: 10 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, 2 randomized, double-blind comparator trials, 2 randomized, open comparator trials, and 13 open-label trials. The majority of randomized controlled trials has demonstrated substantial efficacy of lithium augmentation in partial and non responders to antidepressant treatment. In the placebo-controlled trials, the response rate in the lithium group was 45% and in the placebo group 18% (p<0.001). Summarizing all open and controlled studies, approximately 50% of patients responded to lithium augmentation within 4 weeks. In conclusion, lithium is the foremost and most well-documented augmentation strategy in refractory depression.Therefore, it should be considered a first-line treatment strategy in patients with major depression who do not adequately respond to standard antidepressants.
Klinik fur Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Charite Campus Mitte Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Schumannstr. 20-21, 10117, Berlin, Germany, michael.bauer@charite.de