Scientists have developed a new blood test that could finally lead to personalised depression treatments for patients, giving doctors a tool that can identify which antidepressants are likely to work for patients the first time around, instead of relying on trial and error.
This could make a huge difference, because the current treatment method for depression – doctors trying out one medication after another until something sticks – isn’t effective, with roughly 50 percent of all first-time prescriptions failing to help those in need. And even if a treatment does end up working, it can take weeks to find out either way.
The new test, developed by researchers from King’s College London in the UK, can predict if a certain antidepressant would work on an individual patient, before a doctor prescribes it, by looking for two inflammation biomarkers.
These two biomarkers have previously been linked to patients who have a poor response to typical medications. The test can accurately measure how many of these biomarkers a person has, and if they have higher than a certain threshold, they will likely not respond to what’s called ‘first-line antidepressants‘ – the ones that doctors typically test first up.
– Josh Hrala