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Antidepressants + Exercise Beneficial in Late-Life Depression

Characteristics associated with remission for AD + PE include age 75 years and older, polypharmacy

depressed woman

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- For older adults with late-life major depression (LLMD), the combination of antidepressants (AD) and physical exercise (PE) seems beneficial, especially for individuals with specific characteristics, according to research published online Nov. 21 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Stamatula Zanetidou, M.D., from the University of Genoa in Italy, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial involving 121 individuals aged 65 years and older with major depression. Patients with LLMD were randomly allocated to AD (sertraline) or AD plus PE in a primary care setting with psychiatric consultation-liaison programs to regulate clinical management of individuals with psychiatric disorders.

The researchers found that the likelihood of achieving remission from depression with AD + PE was higher than with AD alone for characteristics of age 75 years and older, polypharmacy, greater aerobic capacity, displaying psychomotor slowing, and less-severe anxiety. More individuals were recruited at centers that had a primary care with psychiatric consultation-liaison program established for longer duration. Primary care physicians expressed positive views on AD + PE after participating in the study, and were more likely to use this therapeutic strategy.

"The combination of PE and sertraline could improve the management of LLMD, especially when customized for individuals with specific clinical features," the authors write. "Liaison programs might influence the implementation of similar interventions in primary care, and primary care physicians viewed them positively."

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