Symptom improvement and residual symptoms during acute antidepressant treatment in pediatric major depressive disorder

Rongrong Tao, Graham J. Emslie, Taryn L. Mayes, Paul A. Nakonezny, Betsy D. Kennard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Knowing the timing of specific depressive symptom improvement will enable clinicians to prepare their patients well and improve treatment outcome, whereas recognizing which depressive symptoms may show delayed improvement will help clinicians to provide additional interventions early in treatment. In a prospective open-label fluoxetine study, we investigated the timing of depressive symptom improvement during acute treatment, and identified common remaining symptoms following 4, 8, and 12 weeks of acute treatment in depressed youths. Method: A total of 168 children and adolescents, aged 7-18 years, with primary diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD) received 12 weeks of fluoxetine treatment. Youths were evaluated using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. The outcome measure included the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised. Results: All depressive symptoms improved, particularly during the first 4 weeks of acute treatment. Forty-seven percent of remitters reported at least one residual symptom following 12 weeks, with most common residual symptoms being impaired school performance, insomnia, and irritability. Conclusions: Residual symptoms are common, even among remitters, at the end of 12 weeks of acute treatment. There is a need for clinicians to monitor symptom improvement and potentially provide additional interventions for the more resistant symptoms, such as insomnia and school performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-430
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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