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Erythropoietin as an Innovative Add-on Therapy for Depression

  • Peter Falkai
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany
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  • Andrea Schmitt
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Andrea Schmitt, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Nussbaumstrasse 7, Munich 80336, Germany
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany

    Laboratory of Neurosciences (LIM-27), Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
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      Affective disorders, including major depression, represent a spectrum of severe psychiatric disorders and, according to the World Mental Health Survey from the World Health Organization, have a worldwide lifetime prevalence of about 3%–21% (
      • Kessler R.C.
      • Angermeyer M.
      • Anthony J.C.
      • De Graaf R.
      • Demyttenaere K.
      • Gasquet I.
      • et al.
      Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of mental disorders in the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative.
      ). Major depression starts in young adulthood, often leads to suicidal ideation, and ranks among the most disabling diseases worldwide. Depression results in an enormous economic burden, and this burden increased during the years 2005–2010. The direct and indirect costs of depression, most of which are workplace related, have been estimated to total $210.5 billion in the United States (
      • Greenberg P.E.
      • Fournier A.-A.
      • Sisitsky T.
      • Pike C.T.
      • Kessler R.C.
      The economic burden of adults with major depressive disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010).
      ). Furthermore, despite modern psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment interventions and an increase in the prescription of antidepressants, a considerable number of patients do not achieve full remission (

      Bauer M, Pfennig A, Severus E, Whybrow PC, Angst J, Möller HJ, et al. (2013): World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for biological treatment of unipolar depressive disorders, part 1: Update 2013 on the acute and continuation treatment of unipolar depressive disorders. World J Biol Psychiatry 14: 334–385.

      ). Innovative treatment strategies are needed to improve outcome.
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