September 22, 2008

STAR*D data are now publically available. Click here for more information.

November 1, 2006

An overall assessment of the nation's largest real-world study of treatment-resistant depression suggests that a patient with persistent depression can get well after trying several treatment strategies, but his or her odds of beating the depression diminish as additional treatment strategies are needed. The conclusions from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, funded by NIMH, were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on November 1, 2006.

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Currently, practitioners have many effective treatment options for depressed patients, including 20 FDA approved antidepressant medications as well as several time-limited, scientifically tested psychotherapies. However, because no one treatment is universally effective for everyone, many depressed patients do not experience a satisfactory clinical benefit from the initial treatment they receive. Some patients respond to one treatment, some to another, and some may require the combination of two or more treatments. Focusing on the common clinical question of what to do next when patients fail to respond to a standard trial of treatment with an antidepressant medication, STAR*D aims at defining which subsequent treatment strategies, in what order or sequence, and in what combination(s) are both acceptable to patients and provide the best clinical results with the least side effects. Secondarily, STAR*D will provide estimates of the costs and cost offsets of such care when provided to outpatients in both primary and specialty care settings.

STAR*D page on the NIMH web site »

Overall results Q and A »


This STAR*D web site was created for and describes the activities of an NIMH-funded collaborative study on the treatment of depression. The study is completed and no longer recruiting participants.

If you are seeking immediate help for treatment of depression, we recommend that you contact your clinician or your nearest emergency room. This web site is not intended to provide help or advice to individuals about depression. If you need information about depression, visit the NIMH web site page about depression.