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NURS 6630: Psychopharmalogical Approaches to Treat Psychopathology

Week 4: Therapy for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Mood disorders can impact every facet of a human being’s life, making the most basic activities difficult for patients and their families. This was the case for 13-year-old Jeanette, who was struggling at home and at school. For more than 8 years, Jeanette suffered from temper tantrums, impulsiveness, inappropriate behavior, difficulty in judgment, and sleep issues.

As a PNP working with pediatric patients, you must be able to assess whether these symptoms are caused by psychological, social, or underlying growth and development issues. You must then be able recommend appropriate therapies.

This week, as you examine antidepressant therapies, you explore the assessment and treatment of three populations: pediatrics, adults, and geriatrics. The focus of your assessment tool, a decision tree, will specifically center on one of the most vulnerable populations, pediatrics. Please remember, you must also consider the ethical and legal implications of these therapies. You will also complete a Quiz on the concepts addressed throughout this module.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Assess patient factors and history to develop personalized plans of antidepressant therapy across the lifespan
  • Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients requiring antidepressant therapy
  • Synthesize knowledge of providing care to pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients presenting for antidepressant therapy
  • Analyze ethical and legal implications related to prescribing antidepressant therapy to patients across the lifespan

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Baek, J. H., Nierenberg, A. A., & Fava, M. (2016). Pharmacological approaches to treatment-resistant depression. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 44–47). Elsevier.

Fava, M., & Papakostas, G. I. (2016). Antidepressants. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 27–43). Elsevier.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 Howland, R. H. (2008a). Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D). Part 1: Study design. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 46(9), 21–24. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20080901-06 Howland, R. H. (2008b). Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D). Part 2: Study outcomes. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 46(10), 21–24. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20081001-05 Lorberg, B., Davico, C., Martsenkovskyi, D., & Vitiello, B. (2019).  Principles in using psychotropic medication in children and adolescents. In J. M. Rey & A. Martin (Eds.), IACAPAP e-textbook of child and adolescent mental health. https://iacapap.org/content/uploads/A.7-Psychopharmacology-2019.1.pdf Magellan Health. (2013). Appropriate use of psychotropic drugs in children and adolescents: A clinical monograph. http://www.magellanhealth.com/media/445492/magellan-psychotropicdrugs-0203141.pdf Poznanski, E. O., & Mokros, H. B. (1996). Child depression rating scale—Revised. Western Psychological Services. Rao, U. (2013). Biomarkers in pediatric depression. Depression & Anxiety, 30(9), 787–791. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22171 Yasuda, S. U., Zhang, L. & Huang, S.-M. (2008). The role of ethnicity in variability in response to drugs: Focus on clinical pharmacology studies. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 84(3), 417–423. https://web.archive.org/web/20170809004704/https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ScienceResearch/…/UCM085502.pdf Medication Resources (click to expand/reduce) IBM Corporation. (2020). IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsolutions.com/micromedex2/librarian/deeplinkaccess?source=deepLink&institution=SZMC%5ESZMC%5ET43537

Note: To access the following medications, use the IBM Micromedex resource. Type the name of each medication in the keyword search bar. Be sure to read all sections on the left navigation bar related to each medication’s result page, as this information will be helpful for your review in preparation for your Assignments.

Review the following medications:

amitriptyline bupropion citalopram clomipramine desipramine desvenlafaxine doxepin duloxetine escitalopram fluoxetine fluvoxamineimipramine ketamine mirtazapine nortriptyline paroxetine selegiline sertraline trazodone venlafaxine vilazodone vortioxetine

Required Media (click to expand/reduce) Case Study: An African American Child Suffering from Depression 
Note: This case study will serve as the foundation for this week’s Assignment.
Optional Resources (click to expand/reduce) El Marroun, H., White, T., Verhulst, F., & Tiemeier, H. (2014). Maternal use of antidepressant or anxiolytic medication during pregnancy and childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes: A systematic review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(10), 973–992. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-014-0558-3 Gordon, M. S., & Melvin, G. A. (2014). Do antidepressants make children and adolescents suicidal? Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 50(11), 847–854. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.12655 Seedat, S. (2014). Controversies in the use of antidepressants in children and adolescents: A decade since the storm and where do we stand now? Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 26(2), iii–v. https://doi.org/10.2989/17280583.2014.938497


Assignment: Assessing and Treating Pediatric Patients With Mood Disorders

When pediatric patients present with mood disorders, the process of assessing, diagnosing, and treating them can be quite complex. Children not only present with different signs and symptoms than adult patients with the same disorders, they also metabolize medications much differently. Yet, there may be times when the same psychopharmacologic treatments may be used in both pediatric and adult cases with major depressive disorders. As a result, psychiatric nurse practitioners must exercise caution when prescribing psychotropic medications to these patients. For this Assignment, as you examine the patient case study in this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might assess and treat pediatric patients presenting with mood disorders.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, including the Medication Resources indicated for this week.
  • Reflect on the psychopharmacologic treatments you might recommend for the assessment and treatment of pediatric patients requiring antidepressant therapy.

The Assignment: 5 pages

Examine Case Study: An African American Child Suffering From Depression. You will be asked to make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this patient. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point, you should evaluate all options before selecting your decision and moving throughout the exercise. Before you make your decision, make sure that you have researched each option and that you evaluate the decision that you will select. Be sure to research each option using the primary literature.

Introduction to the case (1 page)

  • Briefly explain and summarize the case for this Assignment. Be sure to include the specific patient factors that may impact your decision making when prescribing medication for this patient.

Decision #1 (1 page)

  • Which decision did you select?
  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #2 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #3 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Conclusion (1 page)

Summarize your recommendations on the treatment options you selected for this patient. Be sure to justify your recommendations and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

Note: Support your rationale with a minimum of five academic resources. While you may use the course text to support your rationale, it will not count toward the resource requirement. You should be utilizing the primary and secondary literature. Reminder : The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/templates/general#s-lg-box-20293632).All papers submitted must use this formatting.

By Day 7

Submit your Assignment. 

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