Introduction: The objective of this study was to examine the evolution of antidepressant switch and adjunctive therapy. Methods: This chart review was conducted at 6 primary psychiatric clinics or hospitals, in Tokyo, Japan. A chart review of longitudinal prescriptions was conducted regarding 633 outpatients with major depressive disorder for up to 2 years after their first visit. Patients who had already received antidepressants prior to the visit were excluded. Results: 22.6% (N=143) of the patients completed or continued the outpatient treatment over the 2 years while 27 (4.3%), 23 (3.6%), and 439 (69.4%) patients discontinued it due to hospitalization, referral to another clinic, and loss to follow-up, respectively. A total of 597 episodes of antidepressant treatment were identified. Among them, 482 episodes (80.7%) were associated with the suggested dose ranges while antidepressant drugs were under-dosed in 19.3% (N=115) of the episodes. 50 patients (7.9%) received adjunctive therapy; it was employed after a median of only one antidepressant had been tried. Conclusion: Psychiatrists may be hasty in prescribing an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of depression.
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