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INTRODUCTION

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CASE STUDY

A 47-year-old woman presents to her primary care physician with a chief complaint of fatigue. She indicates that she was promoted to senior manager in her company approximately 11 months earlier. Although her promotion was welcome and came with a sizable raise in pay, it resulted in her having to move away from an office and group of colleagues she very much enjoyed. In addition, her level of responsibility increased dramatically. The patient reports that for the last 7 weeks, she has been waking up at 3 am every night and been unable to go back to sleep. She dreads the day and the stresses of the workplace. As a consequence, she is not eating as well as she might and has dropped 7% of her body weight in the last 3 months. She also reports being so stressed that she breaks down crying in the office occasionally and has been calling in sick frequently. When she comes home, she finds she is less motivated to attend to chores around the house and has no motivation, interest, or energy to pursue recreational activities that she once enjoyed such as hiking. She describes herself as “chronically miserable and worried all the time.” Her medical history is notable for chronic neck pain from a motor vehicle accident for which she is being treated with tramadol and meperidine. In addition, she is on hydrochlorothiazide and propranolol for hypertension. The patient has a history of one depressive episode after a divorce that was treated successfully with fluoxetine. Medical workup including complete blood cell count, thyroid function tests, and a chemistry panel reveals no abnormalities. She is started on fluoxetine for a presumed major depressive episode and referred for cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. What CYP450 and pharmacodynamic interactions might be associated with fluoxetine use in this patient? Which class of antidepressants would be contraindicated in this patient?

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The diagnosis of depression still rests primarily on the clinical interview. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by depressed mood most of the time for at least 2 weeks or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, or both. In addition, depression is characterized by disturbances in sleep and appetite as well as deficits in cognition and energy. Thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, and suicide are common. Coronary artery disease, diabetes, and stroke appear to be more common in depressed patients, and depression may considerably worsen the prognosis for patients with a variety of comorbid medical conditions.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, antidepressants are consistently among the three most commonly prescribed classes of medications in the USA. The wisdom of such widespread use of antidepressants is debated. However, it is clear that American physicians have been increasingly inclined to use antidepressants to treat a host of conditions and that patients have been increasingly receptive to their use.

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The primary indication for antidepressant agents is the treatment of MDD. ...

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