The future of depression treatment is in your blood

I’ve written before about how prescribing medication for depression can be an imprecise science. Often it takes multiple tries before we find the right drug or combination of drugs to send your depression into remission.

A study from Dr. Madhukar Trivedi (front) demonstrated that measuring a depressed patient’s C-reactive protein level can help doctors prescribe an antidepressant that is more likely to work. (utsouthwestern.edu)

Scientists are working on that problem, though, and a new study shows promising results: Researchers found that a simple blood test can indicate which type of medication is most likely to work on a given patient.

In this study, researchers took finger pricks of patients’ blood and measured levels of a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP). They treated the patients with one of two medication options and found that people with low levels of the protein responded a lot better to one medication, while people with high levels of the protein responded a lot better to the other.

There is a lot more research to be done. More medications need to be tested alongside CRP measurements, and other markers need to be found to fill in the gaps where CRP isn’t enough of an indicator.

This is a promising start, though, and I’m excited to see where further research goes.

Go here to read more about the study.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

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