Correspondence| Volume 64, ISSUE 10, e5-e6, November 15, 2008

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Effects of Antidepressant Drugs on Electroencephalography Alpha Power: Importance of Study Duration

Published:September 19, 2008DOI:
      The recent study of Bruder et al. (
      • Bruder G.E.
      • Sedoruk J.P.
      • Stewart J.W.
      • McGrath P.J.
      • Quitkin F.M.
      • Tenke C.E.
      Electroencephalographic alpha measures predict therapeutic response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant: Pre- and post-treatment findings.
      ) adds further data to a growing evidence base demonstrating the ability of electroencephalographic methods to study the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs and prediction of response in patients. It is reported that clinical responders to a 12-week trial of fluoxetine had significantly greater pretreatment electroencephalography (EEG) α power in the occipital region (electrodes O1 and O2) than control subjects, with a trend for a similar difference between responders and nonresponders. However, what might have been a surprise to some is that Bruder et al. found that α power was extremely stable in both responders and nonresponders comparing pretreatment EEGs with recordings made after 12 weeks on fluoxetine.
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        Biological PsychiatryVol. 64Issue 10
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          Wiśniewski et al. make the interesting point that despite the lack of changes in electroencephalography (EEG) α power after 12 weeks of fluoxetine treatment in our study (1), other studies have reported acute effects of a single dose or up to a couple of weeks of antidepressant drugs on EEG α power. There might well be acute effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drugs on EEG measures that are not seen during chronic treatment. Acute changes in EEG are particularly important if they predict subsequent clinical response to an SSRI (2).
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