You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

You are using an outdated browser.

To ensure optimal security, this website will soon be unavailable on this browser. Please upgrade your browser to allow continued use of ACP websites.

Should This Patient Receive an Antidepressant?

Depression is a major public health problem and a common cause of disability. To help physicians choose among available treatment options, the American College of Physicians recently issued a guideline titled "Nonpharmacologic Versus Pharmacologic Treatment of Adult Patients with Major Depressive Disorder." The evidence review done for the guideline found no statistically significant difference in the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants (SGAs) versus most other treatments for this disorder. However, rates of adverse events and discontinuation were generally higher in patients treated with SGAs. This Beyond the Guidelines reviews the guideline and includes a discussion between 2 experts on how they would apply it to a 64-year-old man with depression who is reluctant to begin medication. They review the data on which the guideline is based, discuss the limitations of applying the data to real-world settings, review how they would incorporate patient preferences when making treatment decisions, and outline options for patients in whom first-line therapy has failed.

About Annals Beyond the Guidelines

From Annals of Internal Medicine (, Beyond the Guidelines is an educational feature based on recent guidelines. Each considers a patient (or patients) who "falls between the cracks" of available evidence and for whom the optimal clinical course in unclear. Presented at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Grand Rounds, each conference reviews the background evidence and experts then discuss the patient(s) and field audience questions. Videos of the interviews and conference, the slide presentation, and a CME/MOC activity accompany each module.



Up to 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™ and MOC Points
Expires August 1, 2020   expired


Free to Members


Video Recordings


Annals Beyond the Guidelines