Background: Predicting relapse during maintenance treatment for depression is challenging. The objective of this analysis was to investigate the association between the time taken to achieve remission in the acute phase, and the subsequent relapse rate or time to relapse using the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression dataset. Method: Data of 1296 outpatients with nonpsychotic depression who entered a 12-month naturalistic follow-up period after achieving remission with citalopram for up to 14 weeks were analyzed. One-way analysis of variance and the Jonckheere-Terpstra trend test were performed to compare the relapse rates and days to relapse during the follow-up period among those who achieved remission at weeks 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 14. Remission and relapse were defined as scores of ≤5 and ≥11, respectively, on the 16-Item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology and Self-Report. Results: The relapse rates were significantly different among those who achieved remission each week (F(5, 1087) = 4.995, p < 0.001). The lowest and highest relapse rates were observed in those who achieved remission at weeks 4 (25.7 %) and 12 (42.4 %), respectively, with a significant difference (p = 0.006). There was also a significant negative trend between the weeks taken to achieve remission and the days to relapse (z = −6.13, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Patients with depression who show a faster response to antidepressant treatment are more likely to maintain remission in the long term. This finding suggests that, to prevent relapse, close attention should be paid to patients who require a relatively long time to achieve remission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas