Wristband May Help to Predict Antidepressant Response

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A wristband that records motion throughout a 24-hour period may help clinicians determine whether a person will respond to an antidepressant.

W. Vaughn McCall, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia, enrolled 58 people with major depressive disorder who were not on medication. Participants were then given fluoxetine (Prozac) for nine weeks, coupled with blinded, randomized assignment to eszopiclone (Lunesta)/placebo.

They were also outfitted with a smartband to see if they were more active at night (“night owls”) or earlier in the day (“early birds”). The research suggests the rest-activity pattern of patients may be a biomarker for antidepressant response.

The night owl group responded better to fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), than the early birds, the researchers reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

It makes sense that owls are good responders since SSRIs tend to shift rest time to a more usual, middle-of-the-night time frame,” McCall said in a statement.

He added that they early birds might respond to a drug belonging to a different class of antidepressants, such as bupropion, which targets dopamine, providing a slight stimulation that may help them readjust their lowest activity times — which should relate with deep sleep times — to slightly later in the day.

Can Physical Activity Trackers Help Psychiatrists in Their Practice?
Wristband May Help to Predict Antidepressant Response

Promising new research suggests a mobile health application may help providers determine if a person will respond favorably to a depression medication.

A study by Georgia researchers reviewed the use of a motion detection wristband that records motion throughout a 24-hour cycle. The device is used to determine if a person is a night owl or an early-bird, a lark.

Investigators believe the approach may be an inexpensive, safe way to determine which patients with major depressive disorder will respond best to commonly prescribed drugs such as Prozac.

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