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

Pete M Ellis
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (10): 526-527.
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.

  • Pete M Ellis


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