A New Blood Test for Diagnosing and Treating Depression

The approach to the treatment of depressive disorder with antidepressants has always been by trial and error. As has been reported widely in the media recently, there is now an easier way of determining the best route of treatment for sufferers of depression in the form of a simple blood test.

Doctors at Kings College Hospital (*) have recently measured the quantity of two biomarkers for absolute mRNA values (messenger ribonucleic acid) of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Interleukin-1-β – both indicators of inflammation in the brain.

It is known that patients with high peripheral inflammation tend to respond poorly to the usual antidepressants, such as SSRIs (Fluoxetine, Sertraline or Citalopram), and that the mRNA levels accurately predict the treatment response in people with depression.

Patients who have raised absolute mRNA values above the suggested levels could be transferred to stronger antidepressants, such as SSNRIs (Venlafaxine, Duloxetine or Mirtazepine) or anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, and which may be more effective in treating their depression.

This means that at long last, psychiatrists have a blood test for depression which will determine the most suitable antidepressants to treat people, making the road to recovery in many cases more effective and quicker.

Both Dr Winbow and Prof Hale are very experienced in treating depressive illnesses – including treatment resistant depression. Appointments can be made at locations across Kent, in Surrey and London.



* http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/news/records/2016/June/Blood-test-to-personalise-depression-treatment-for-the-first-time.aspx

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