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Benzodiazepines for treatment of depressive disorders

Ayşen Esen Danacı, Firdevs Seyfe Şen, Ömer Aydemir, İlkin İçelli.

Object: In conventional publications use of benzodiazepines for
treatment of depressive disorders is often recommended as a
final chance. In fact, depression implicates symptoms of anxiety
as well; anxiety is one of the most frequently encountered
symptoms and is among the most sensitive symptoms to show
whether depressed patient is getting better or worse. Therefore
an effective depression treatment should overcome the anxiety
symptoms as well. A period of 2-4 weeks is required in treatment
for the effects of antidepressants to start and in clinical
practice physicians frequently add other medications to antidepressants
for rapid and additional effects. This study aims to
examine the frequency of use of benzodiazepine in treatment
of patients with depressive disorder in routine clinical practice.

Method: In this study, records of 248 patients who applied to
psychiatry outpatient ward of Celal Bayar University Hospital in
1998 and diagnosed with depressive disorder were analyzed.
83.1% of patients were women and 16.9% were men. Diagnostic
dispersion was as follows: 65.7% of patients had major depressive
disorder, single episode, 2.0% had major depressive disorder,
recurrent, 0.8% had bipolar depression, 20.6% had dysthymic
disorder and 10.9% had depressive disorder not otherwise

Results: 61.7% of patients were prescribed anxiolytic
drugs alongside with antidepressant treatment. Use of
benzodiazepine in patients with insomnia and anxiety symptoms
was statistically higher (P=0.000) when compared to those
not having such symptoms. In addition, drop out rates were less
with patients having benzodiazepine as a supplement to their
routine treatment (p=0.000).

Conclussions: This study has shown
that use of benzodiazepine in depressed patients, particularly
those with anxiety and insomnia symptoms is rather common
and this practice enables patients to adapt to treatment better.

Key words: depression, anxiety, benzodiazepine

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