Early prediction of acute antidepressant treatment response and remission in pediatric major depressive disorder

Rongrong Tao, Graham Emslie, Taryn Mayes, Paul Nakonezny, Betsy Kennard, Carroll Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective: Less than half of youths achieve remission (minimal to no symptoms) after acute antidepressant treatment. Early identification of who will or will not respond to treatment and achieve remission may help clinicians formulate treatment decisions and shorten the time spent on ineffective treatments. In a prospective open-label fluoxetine study, we investigate indicators of acute treatment response and remission. Method: One hundred sixty-eight children and adolescents, ages 7 to 18 years, with primary diagnoses of major depressive disorder received 12 weeks of fluoxetine treatment. The youths were evaluated using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. The outcome measure included the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised. Results: Positive first-degree family history of depression was the only baseline demographic and clinical characteristic that predicted a favorable treatment response (p = .01). The rate of symptom improvement, however, is a good indicator of acute treatment response. A significant symptom reduction (approximately 50%) by week 4 is needed to achieve remission at the end of acute treatment. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the rate of symptom improvement during early weeks of acute fluoxetine treatment is a good indicator of remission. Treatment approach may be reevaluated and modified as early as week 4 during acute treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Acute treatment
  • Fluoxetine
  • Pediatric depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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