Discussion Week #2- Pharm Paper

Discussion Week #2- Pharm Paper

Drug Choice and Treatment in Acute Depression

Emily is suffering from the symptoms of acute depression. It is however notable that she has a family history of depression. This could be an important factor in the selection of which drug treatment to give her. The choice of antidepressant to prescribe is usually decided based partly on the patient’s family and medical history, and the side effects of the drug (Jameson et al., 2018, p. 3,270). For Emily, the medication that should be considered for her depression is sertraline. This is the same drug that her mother was treated with. According to Jameson et al. (2018), “A previous response or a family history of a positive response to a specific antidepressant often suggests that that drug be tried first” (p. 3,270). This is the rationale for the choice of sertraline in the case of Emily. Discussion Week #2- Pharm Paper


            Her age and childbearing potential also partly influence this treatment decision. Sertraline belongs to the class of depression medications classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). One of the main side effects of this class of antidepressants is reduced libido and decreased sexual drive (Jameson et al., 2018, p. 3,270). Considering the age of Emily (44 years) and her childbearing potential, it is safe to say that she can use the drug despite this side effect. This is because she is in the menopausal window and these factors may not be as important for her.

However, medication therapy alone may not be enough. Traditionally, drug treatment is usually combined with non-pharmacologic interventions to achieve the best results (Jameson et al., 2018, p. 56). As such, measures like group or individual psychological counselling and behavioral therapies are usually incorporated.  Others include psychotherapeutic interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Medication education should include having weekend drug holidays (to reduce lowered sexual function effect) and evaluation of treatment after two months to assess response.


Jameson, J.L., Fauci, A.S., Kasper, D.L., Hauser, S.L., Longo, D.L., & Loscalzo, J. (Eds) (2018). Harrison’s principles of internal medicine, 20th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Week #2- Pharm Paper

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