Studies of the 1970s and 1980s showed lithium monotherapy to be an effective treatment of acute unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD) and hence as a potential alternative to monoaminergic antidepressants.The objective was to conduct the first comparison of a lithium monotherapy with a modern antidepressant in the acute treatment of MDD. Results were compared with citaloprams efficacy as shown in a different but methodologically identical study (including same researchers, same time, and same place).Thirty patients with an acute MDD (Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition [DSM IV] I) were treated with lithium monotherapy (study 1) or with citalopram monotherapy (study 2, N = 32) for 4 weeks.Response rates (decrease in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score >50%) were 50% for lithium and 72% for citalopram (P = 0.12). Citalopram-treated subjects showed a greater decrease in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores (significant at 2 weeks). In the lithium study, only patients with a recurrent episode (DSM-IV: 296.3) responded (15/22), as opposed to none of 8 patients with a first/single episode (DSM-IV: 296.2) (P = 0.002). Patients with a single episode responded significantly more often to citalopram than to lithium (P = 0.007). Both drugs were well tolerated. Only one patient (citalopram) terminated the study prematurely owing to adverse effects.Our results do not support the use of lithium as an alternative to SSRI in the treatment of acute MDD. The finding of a better response to lithium in patients with a recurrent depression has not been reported before and warrants replication. The comparison is limited by the lack of a randomized double-blind design.
Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system is one of the best replicated pathophysiological findings in depression. However, studies on the influence of treatment on the HPA system have partly yielded inconsistent results.
Distorted activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system is one of the most robustly documented biological abnormalities in major depression. Lithium is central to the treatment of affective disorders, but little is known about its effects on the HPA system of depressed subjects.
"Spice" and other herbal blends were marketed in Germany until January 2009 as substances purportedly exerting similar effects to cannabis, yet containing no cannabinoids. These products were recently forbidden in Germany under the provisions of the German Narcotics Law after they were found to contain undeclared, synthetic cannabinomimetic substances. The authors describe physical withdrawal phenomena and a dependence syndrome that developed after the consumption of "Spice."
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