YOUR HEALTH: Her depression is treated with a combination of two common drugs

BELLEVUE, Washington – Laura Miller has suffered from depression since she was in her 20's.
She's tried ten medications, but nothing has worked.

"You don't want to get out of bed, you really don't want to do anything at all."

More than 16 million Americans suffered at least one major episode of depression just in the last year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Medications aren't always effective.

In fact, 30% of patients don't respond.

Doctors across the country are now testing a drug combination for patients with drug-resistant depression.

Dr. Arifulla Khan, medical director of the Northwest Clinical Research Center, hopes he is on to something to help people with treatment-resistant depression.

AXS-05 is a combination of dextromethorphan, an ingredient in cough syrup, and bupropion, an antidepressant.

"So that medication inhibits the excretion, body breakdown of dexomethorphan, which is considered to be the potentially effective antidepressant," explained Dr. Khan.

In theory, AXS-05 will allow the dextromethorphan to reach levels in the body that will ease depression.
Dr. Khan is testing that in a phase three trial, seeing if the drug combination works better than bupropion alone.

"Theoretically should be effective, but that needs to be proven with data."

Laura Miller is watching, with hope.

"To be able to feel normal and be able to get things done and be able to concentrate and to be able to have emotions. I couldn't put a price on it."

All patients in the trial will get bupropion for six weeks.   Some will then be switched to AXS-05, the rest will stay on bupropion.

The trial is running at 47 sites.   You can get more information at trdstudy.com.

BACKGROUND: Depression is a common and sometime serious medical illness that negatively affects the way a person feels, thinks and acts. It causes feelings of sadness and/or sometimes a loss of interest in the activities a person once enjoyed. It may lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems and can decrease a person`s ability to function at home or work. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include change in appetite or weight, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of energy, increased fatigue, feeling worthless or guilty, and even thoughts of death or suicide. Symptoms must last at least two weeks for depression diagnosis, and it is important to rule out other medical conditions that may mimic certain symptoms of depression.
(Source: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression)

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.