Depression: 9 in 10 have residual symptoms following remission

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  • A study of patients with major depressive disorder who had achieved remission or partial remission with antidepressant treatment shows a high frequency of persistent symptoms, including sleep problems, fatigue, impaired concentration, and appetite/weight disturbances.
  • Just 10.0% of remitted patients were completely free of mood symptoms, as measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (QIDS-SR).

Why this matters

  • Residual mood and somatic symptoms during remission have been studied previously, but most studies were secondary analyses of clinical trials that had strict entry criteria.
  • The current study focused on a broad patient population.

Study design

  • 1503 participants evaluated who responded to antidepressant treatment and reported ≥50% improvement in depressive symptom on the visual analog scale.
  • Funding: The Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals Incubating Program; others.

Key results

  • 770 remitters (QIDS-SR ≤5) and 733 nonremitters (QIDS-SR>5).
  • Of the depression domains measured using QIDS-SR, most frequent residual symptoms included:
    • Sleep disturbances (24.9%);
    • Appetite/weight disturbances (3.8%);
    •  Loss of interest (0.9%);
    • Fatigue (0.8%);
    • Decreased concentration (0.6%).
  • Of the 770 remitters, 10% were free of residual mood symptoms (QIDS-SR total score, 0).
  • Overall, 4.8% participants were free of both residual mood and somatic symptoms.


  • Limited generalizability.