New Research

New research from the CWMH.

New Research from the CWMH: CBT to Reduce Risk of Relapse in Women Attempting to Discontinue Antidepressants

Pregnancy is a time of risk for women with histories of major depression. In a study where 201 women with histories of recurrent depression were followed prospectively through pregnancy, 43% experienced a relapse of major depression during pregnancy. Relapse rates were highest in the group of women who elected to discontinue antidepressant treatment proximate to conception (68% as compared to 26% in the group of women who maintained antidepressant treatment).

New Research from the CWMH: Venlafaxine As Effective As Estradiol for Hot Flashes

Various selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro) and paroxetine (Paxil), have been shown to be effective for the treatment of menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS). Other studies have supported the efficacy of the serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor). The FDA recently approved a 7.5-mg formulation of paroxetine (marketed as Brisdelle) as the first non-hormonal treatment of hot flashes.

Research from the CWMH: Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Effective for Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms?

Approximately seventy percent of all women experience hot flashes and/or night sweats during the menopause transition (Stearns et al, 2002).  Until recently, estrogen therapy was the treatment of choice for most women who sought treatment for hot flashes, but today many women are pursuing non-hormonal treatments, including over-the-counter complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) for the treatment of these symptoms. 

Prevalence and Trends in the Use of Antipsychotic Medications during Pregnancy

Since their introduction in the 1990s, atypical (second-generation) antipsychotics have replaced typical (first generation) antipsychotics as the first-line treatment for schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. These drugs are widely used by reproductive age women across many other disease states including bipolar disorder, major depression and anxiety disorders as either primary or adjunctive treatments.

New Research from the CWMH: Vasomotor Symptoms Frequently Recur After Discontinuation of SSRI

For the treatment of menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes and night sweats, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective and well-tolerated.  Positive effects are observed within 4 weeks of the initiation of treatment.  However, we do not know how long treatment with an SSRI must be continued in order to maintain control of VMS. Nor do we know if VMS will recur after discontinuation of SSRI or if recurrent VMS may be less frequent or less bothersome after receiving SSRI treatment. A recent report from Dr. Hadine Joffe and colleagues at the Center for Women’s Mental Health assessed the recurrence of vasomotor symptoms in women treated with SSRIs.

Remote Enrollment Initiated in MGH Study Assessing Mood Symptoms Across Infertility Treatment

We are pleased to announce the recent launch of an exciting new research initiative that is being conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health.  The Symptom Tracking in Assisted Reproductive Technologies study (START study) will focus on understanding the risk factors for depressive relapse in women undergoing infertility treatments.  There has been a growing request in our clinical work to address the needs of women undergoing infertility treatments.  It is our hope that such a study will provide important information on the course and risk of depression in women undergoing fertility treatment and thus inform clinical care.

New Research from the CWMH: Escitalopram and Sleep in Midlife Women with Vasomotor Symptoms

Selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors (SSRIs and SNRIs) have been shown to be effective for the treatment of hot flashes.  However, these agents may carry certain side effects, including sexual side effects and sleep disturbance.  These two side effects may be particularly concerning to peri- and postmenopausal women who, in addition to having vasomotor symptoms, are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction and sleep disruption than premenopausal women.