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Blood tests help find the right anti-depressants

7 June 2016

Blood tests help find the right anti-depressants

UK scientists are working on a blood test to treat individuals with the right medication without trial and error.


Researchers at King’s College London explain that those who test positive for inflammation require a more aggressive type of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication. The markers identified are macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and another called interleukin-1beta.

Eventually they wish to do a larger trial to demonstrate how their theory would work in the real world. As of now they have a small number of volunteers with only 140 having depression.

As described in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, the blood test is a result of years of examination

Lead researcher Prof Carmine Pariante said "About a third of patients might have these inflammatory markers and they would be people we might encourage to go on more aggressive treatment."

However, these harsher mediation types have multiple side-effects that the patients much be warned about before the test is done.

Prof Pariante said: "We would not want to go in prescribing too much medicine if it's not necessary, but we would want to escalate people sooner rather than later if they need it."

However, sometimes a treatment wouldn’t have to be medical at all, no matter what this study finds, some think talking therapies would work just as well.

Stephen Buckley from the mental health charity Mind said: "Different people will find that different treatments help to manage their mental health - what is most important is that people have the knowledge needed to access the treatment that works for them, whether this is medication, or alternatives such as talking therapies, or a mixture of both."

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