New iPad app helps identify best antidepressant for patients

A new iPad app can help doctors determine the best antidepressant to treat patients. The new Clinaptica Depression Consultant app was developed by Scaled Psychiatric Systems, Inc. It costs $4.95 at the App Store, and is designed to go beyond any previous system for people with depressive disorders to recommend antidepressant therapies specific to different patient characteristics.

Arizona Physician Dr. Rakesh Patel has used an online version of the program since 2006 and says the treatment recommendations have been “spot on almost every time.” A multi-study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in 2009 showed that a sample of patients newly treated for depression under the system’s guidance recovered at twice the expected rate.

The information could help doctors better determine which drugs are best for patients based on their Clinaptica results as well as their own knowledge about the drugs. For example, the most prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These include the brand names Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa and Prozac.

New studies show that SSRIs have been linked to serious birth defects of the brain, spinal cord, lungs and heart, as well as to malformations such as club foot and cleft palate. This information can help doctors determine whether women of childbearing age or those who are pregnant should avoid these drugs.

The Clinaptica app uses a patented method based on 20 years of research. The software generates suggestions for individualizing new or ongoing antidepressant treatment with various classes of medication. By answering simple on-screen questions, patients provide data that the app processes into recommendations and color-coded results for the physician. Approximately 3,000 patients have been treated by health professionals using the online version. The app has already been downloaded from App Stores in 18 countries on six continents.

Source: Times Union