Risk-benefit analysis of the antidepressant drug treatment in the elderly
Área/s de conocimientoPsicología
Depression in the elderly is a significant health issue that has the potential to seriously affect physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, the treatment of geriatric depression is necessary. Antidepressant treatment in older depressed patients is efficacious, but differences in the effectiveness of different classes of antidepressants have not been demonstrated. However, differences in tolerability profile are most recognizable in the elderly. With ageing, a series of changes occur in the elderly that modify both the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antidepressants and may influence the efficacy, tolerability and safety of treatment in the elderly. Comorbidities require the use of other drugs, which increases the possibility of drug-drug interactions. Given these aspects, individualized therapy for each elderly patient is needed to achieve acceptable risk-benefit ratio. Effective treatment of depression in the elderly, which may require combined pharmacological with psychosocial treatment, can decrease both morbidity and mortality; it also may lead to reduced demands on family members and on health-care and social services.