In reply: How long should drug treatment of depression last?

Pete M Ellis
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05341.x
Published online: 19 May 2003

In reply: Fava observes that duration of treatment with an antidepressant does not affect the subsequent rate of relapse. Indeed, it would be unexpected if it did; medication only works while it is being taken. He then states that the duration of antidepressant treatment is immaterial. However, Figure 1 of the reference he quotes1 indicates that, for at least 54 months after the index episode, continuing medication provides greater protection against relapse than early discontinuation.


  • 1. Viguera AC, Baldessarini RJ, Friedberg J. Discontinuing antidepressant treatment in major depression. Harv Rev Psychiatry 1998; 5: 293-306.
  • 2. Baldessarini RJ, Ghaemi SN, Viguera AC. Tolerance in antidepressant treatment. Psychother Psychosom 2002; 71: 177-179.
  • 3. Ellis PM, Smith DAR. Treating depression: the beyondblue guidelines for treating depression in primary care. Med J Aust 2002; 176 (Suppl 20 May): S77-S83. <MJA full text>


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.