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Past child abuse may influence adult response to antidepressants []


Antidepressants don’t work for everyone, and having a history of abuse during childhood may signal a low likelihood that the drugs will improve an adult’s symptoms of major depression, a recent study suggests.

While there are few reliable predictors of which people will respond to specific antidepressants, lots of previous research links a history of trauma early in life with how well people tend to do on these drugs, researchers note in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

"The presence of trauma history should be taken into account when making treatment decisions," said Leanne Williams of Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, lead author of the new study.

"Based on our findings, if you have experienced abuse or neglect early in life you are 1.6 times less likely to benefit from a typical first line antidepressant than a person who hasn't had this experience," Williams said by email. "In this case, consideration should be given to alternative medications plus adjunctive therapies that address the trauma issues as well as the current experience of depression."

[For more of this story, written by Lisa Rapaport, go to]

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