A drug commonly used to treat depression has been branded “inadequate” by researchers at Newcastle University.
The study examined the effect of metyrapone – a drug that blocks the production of cortisol and is routinely recommended as an option for treatment-resistant depression, so for patients that had not responded to at least two conventional antidepressant drugs.
The standard treatment for depression involves a combination of medication and talking treatments, depending on whether it is classed as mild, moderate of severe.
The three-year study – published in the Lancet – looked at a total of 165 depressed patients who were being treated by GPs or psychiatrists in Northern England, and were randomly allocated to a period of treatment with either metyraphone or a placebo in addition to their ongoing conventional antidepressants.
Dr Hamish McAllister-Williams, a leader of the study, said: “Our research has shown that in the population of depressed patients studied, metyraphone is inadequate and therefore should not be routinely recommended as an option for treatment resistant depression.”
The study authors also suggest that depression is more complex than simply being a consequence of high levels of stress hormone.
See the full study here