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June 27, 2001

Relapse of Depression After Electroconvulsive Therapy

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(24):3087-3089. doi:10.1001/jama.285.24.3087

To the Editor: The study by Dr Sackeim and colleagues1 on prevention of relapse of major depression after ECT highlights 2 important goals in the treatment of major depression: the need to continue to treat patients in the acute phase until they achieve remission and the need to continue antidepressant treatment to reduce the risk of relapse. We reviewed the literature as well as package inserts of the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants to compare clinical designs and outcomes used in relapse prevention trials. Key observations are as follows: (1) None of the newer antidepressants now on the market were required to demonstrate efficacy in preventing relapse as a prerequisite for marketing approval in the United States.