London: British researchers have claimed Wednesday that taking Modafinil, a drug typically used to treat sleep disorders along with anti-depressants, reduces the severity of depression more effectively than taking anti-depressants alone.
The new study by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the University of East London and the King's College London, was published in the online Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Researchers claimed that the new findings would help many individuals for whom anti-depressants give little or no relief.
According to them, a third of depressed patients receive little or no benefit from taking anti-depressants, even after they used these along with psychological counselling and of those who respond to treatment, symptoms such as fatigue and trouble in sleeping pose risk factors for relapse.
The study has claimed that those supplementing anti-depressants with Modafinil would stood to benefit.
Cynthia Fu, a professor in the University of East London, who undertook the research at the King's College London described it as good news for individuals struggling to fight depression.
"Depression affects all aspects of life, leading to occupational and social disability at varying levels. It is particularly important that people receive effective treatment as the residual symptoms e.g., fatigue, lack of concentration etc. can persist and have a negative impact on their lives," Fu said.
The scientists examined the use of Modafinil as an add-on treatment for depression.
The survey involved a total of 568 patients with unipolar depression, and a total of 342 patients with bipolar depression.
It revealed that Modafinil improved the severity of depression, as well as remission rates.
Modafinil also showed good effects on fatigue and sleepiness with added benefit of the comparable side effects of placebo.
A placebo is a medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient.
Depression is a major global health problem across the world.
According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.