Stimulants for depression: on the up and up?

Malhi, Gin S., Byrow, Yulisha, Bassett, Darryl, Boyce, Philip, Hopwood, Malcolm, Lyndon, William, Mulder, Roger, Porter, Richard, Singh, Ajeet and Murray, Greg 2016, Stimulants for depression: on the up and up?, Australian & New Zealand journal of psychiatry, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 203-207, doi: 10.1177/0004867416634208.

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Title Stimulants for depression: on the up and up?
Author(s) Malhi, Gin S.
Byrow, Yulisha
Bassett, Darryl
Boyce, Philip
Hopwood, Malcolm
Lyndon, William
Mulder, Roger
Porter, Richard
Singh, Ajeet
Murray, Greg
Journal name Australian & New Zealand journal of psychiatry
Volume number 50
Issue number 3
Start page 203
End page 207
Total pages 5
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 0004-8674
Keyword(s) amphetamine
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Summary The use of traditional psychostimulants (methylphenidate and dexamphetamine) and stimulant-like drugs (modafinil and armodafinil) for the treatment of depression is a growing concern given the lack of research evidence supporting their effectiveness. The current article describes the role of stimulants in treating depression--specifically their risks and benefits and their potential use alongside antidepressants. Clinically, the rapid amelioration of depressive symptoms with traditional psychostimulants is often dramatic but short-lived, and this suggests that they likely operate via different mechanisms to conventional antidepressants. More importantly, there is little evidence from randomised controlled trials supporting their efficacy in treating depression, although modafinil has been shown to be effective in reducing prominent depressive symptoms, such as fatigue. Research is urgently required to clarify psychostimulants' mechanisms of action and to evaluate their long-term benefits and risks in the treatment of major and bipolar depression. Ultimately, specificity of action needs to be determined to inform the sophisticated clinical use of psychostimulants in the management of depression. Until then they should only be prescribed if absolutely necessary, and even then their prescription should be facilitatory and time limited unless it is for investigational purposes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0004867416634208
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
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Collection: School of Medicine
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