.European replication.4 Confirmatory diagnosis of an MDE, according to DSM-IV, requires a minimum of five symptoms (at least one being mood or anhedonia) for a minimum of 2 weeks (see Table I for DSM-IV). It is easy to see how the multiple permutations and combinations of these symptoms contribute to substantial intraclass heterogeneity. Table
I DSM-IV criteria for Major Depressive Episode. Major depressive episode Fulvestrant manufacturer subtypes Specifiers may be added to imply greater Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical homogeneity within a subpopulation. For example, “with melancholic features” requires at least three of the following symptoms: complete loss of pleasure, lack of reactivity, psychomotor retardation, significant weight loss, excessive guilt, or distinct quality of depressed mood. Some authors have emphasized the presence of psychomotor retardation Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical as a core feature of melancholic depression.5 The presence of “atypical features” requires two or more of the following symptoms: overeating/weight gain, hypersomnia, leaden paralysis, preservation
of mood reactivity, or interpersonal rejection sensitivity. These latter Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical two symptoms (preservation of mood reactivity and interpersonal rejection sensitivity) have been criticized on the basis of poor reliability, and some authors have recommended that only the reverse vegetative symptoms, hypersomnia, and overeating as well Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical as leaden paralysis form the core of atypical depression.6 There have been attempts to dichotomize these two depression subtypes on both treatment, responsiveness and psychobiology. Historically, tricyclic antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy were recommended for the melancholic patient,7 while patients with atypical features
appeared to respond better to classical monoamine oxidase inhibitors8,9 than to tricyclic antidepressants. These distinctions have been less apparent with the current, generation of selective serotonin Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical reuptake inhibitor secondly (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) antidepressants, and no currently available antidepressant carries a specific indication for either melancholic or atypical symptoms. In fact, Parker’s group recently acknowledged that, symptom profiles within the “melancholia” population may vary with age. Hypersomnia was noted to be more common in the younger age group, while late insomnia became the dominant sleep disturbance of older patients.10 Evidence of core symptoms from rating scales It is common to evaluate the severity of a depressive episode using classic rating scales, particularly the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD-17)11 or the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).