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Keywords:

  • antidepressives;
  • side-effects;
  • suicide;
  • neuroimaging;
  • depression

Hunter AM, Leuchter AF, Cook IA, Abrams M. Brain functional changes (QEEG cordance) and worsening suicidal ideation and mood symptoms during antidepressant treatment.

Objective:  Antidepressant medications are efficacious overall; however, some individuals experience worsening mood symptoms and increased suicidal ideation (SI) during treatment. We examined the quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) cordance biomarker of brain function biomarker in relation to treatment-emergent symptom worsening.

Method:  Seventy-two major depressive disorder (MDD) subjects were treated with fluoxetine 20 mg (n = 13), venlafaxine 150 mg (n = 24), or placebo (n = 35) under double-blind conditions. Behavioral ratings determined whether each subject demonstrated worsening of depressed mood, anxiety, or SI during treatment. QEEG cordance data were analyzed to determine whether symptom worsening was associated with neurophysiological changes.

Results:  Antidepressant treatment-emergent SI (13.5%) was associated with a large transient decrease in midline-and-right-frontal (MRF) cordance 48 h after start of medication.

Conclusion:  Hypothesis-generating results suggest a pattern of functional changes in midline and right frontal brain regions associated with antidepressant treatment-emergent SI in MDD.