Antidepressants are an effective treatment for depression. It's not known exactly how antidepressants work, but it is thought that conventional antidepressants increase levels of naturally occurring chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, chemical messengers (‘neurotransmitters’) that relay communications between brain cells.
Most people who require treatment for depression will respond to antidepressant medication - but not everyone. It is estimated that as many as 30% of people prescribed antidepressants will be treatment resistant - but the term treatment resistant isn't 100% accurate, because people aren't resistant to treatment, it's the treatment that fails to work well for some people.
By the time a person has trialled 2 different antidepressants, the likelihood that the third antidepressant alone will work drops significantly. At this point, it is time to consider next step treatment. For some people this will involve trialling a new medication recently approved for treatment-resistant depression.
The new medication is designed to act like training wheels for your antidepressant therapy - providing fast relief of your symptoms while giving your antidepressants time time to work. While it is not known exactly how the medication works, it is believed that it targets different neurotransmitters than conventional antidepressants which helps your brain to create new connections.
Having new treatments available is an exciting development as it creates more opportunities to tailor treatment plans based on each person's individual needs. But like all treatments, everyone responds differently to this medication, and because it needs to be taken in the clinic, it's not suitable for everyone.
If you have been referred to The Monarch Clinic Australia for next-step treatment, your doctor will discuss all treatment options with you and create a plan that is best suited to your needs.