Week 7 discussion, List Three Questions To Ask This Patient And Provide Rationales, Elderly Female With MDD And New-Onset Of Insomnia And Worsening Depression, Whom Else Would I Speak To In Order To Collect Data, List Two Pharmacologic Agents, Dosing With Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics. From an MOA Perspective, Provide Rationales, Explain Any Diagnostics/Physical Exams or Lab Tests Appropriate, List A Differential Diagnosis And Provide Rationale, List Contraindications Or Any Concerns That Would Be Problematic
List Three Questions To Ask This Patient And Provide Rationales
Pertinent information would be to compassionately ask her if she is adhering to the sertraline regimen and if she is experiencing any untoward side effects. Who prescribed the medication and how long has she been on sertraline? Additionally, I would ask the patient how long she has been experiencing her insomnia. She may be unable to fall asleep, unwillingly awakening at a certain time, or a combination of both. Taking into consideration how long she has been on sertraline can be a determinant of whether or not this may be an inadequate response, as the trial period is four to twelve weeks (Stern, et al., 2016). Evidence points to less favorable results in antidepressive medications for those patients with other medical and psychiatric issues (p. 33). As this new onset of insomnia is distressful and concerning to the patient, I would like to earn her trust by obtaining a thorough history of that and other clinical symptoms to relieve her of her suffering and avoid an undue relapse. Per Levenson et al, (2015), the functional impairment insomnia can have on the patient regardless of the length of time is significant.
Whom Else Would I Speak To In Order To Collect Data?
I would like to speak to her PCP, along with the prescriber of the sertraline, assuming they are not the same person. I could gather medical as well as any psychiatric information available. Recent diagnostics, lab tests, and most importantly, how many prescriptions for sertraline have been dispensed to the patient. Additionally, I would like to speak to any close family or friends that may be involved in her care to uncover any hidden concerns or barriers.
Explain Any Diagnostics/Physical Exams or Lab Tests Appropriate
A neurologic exam including cranial nerve function would be appropriate in my novice opinion, as well as memory recall and cognitive functioning exams to explore the degree of any deficit if that is the case. My thought process at this time is to possibly augment her current therapy, so I would like to obtain a recent CBC, full thyroid panel, CMP, as well as folate level. Recent evidence provides certain rationales for adding certain augmentation therapy for major depression (to be discussed further) when patients are taking SSRIs or SNRIs (Ginsberg, et al., 2011). As the PMHNP caring for this elderly patient, it is in her best interest for me to explore all avenues possible to avoid adding another medication with the resultant effects of polypharmacy.
List A Differential Diagnosis And Provide Rationale
My initial thoughts were that maybe this elderly woman is not functioning at capacity due to inadequate thyroid function. Therefore, a differential diagnosis could be subclinical hypothyroidism. (Also considered were a mood disorder and possibly low folate levels). The prevalence of this hypothyroidism is estimated at four to ten percent and adds to the burdens of major depression (Airaksinen, et al., 2021).
List Two Pharmacologic Agents, Dosing With Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics. From an MOA Perspective, Provide Rationales
As this is an elderly patient with multiple significant comorbidities, already on polypharmaceuticals, I would like to augment her therapy based on lab results indicating low thyroid function and limit the possibility of side effects. I would also like her to adhere to the prescribed regimen, and given the nature of the safety and efficacy of adding triiodothyronine (T3), I think this may be a logical beginning to treatment. Nine hundred milligrams once daily is the recommended dose for augmentation therapy (Stern, et al., 2016). The STAR D study concluded that this drug has the benefit of remission as augmentation therapy in roughly twenty-four percent of patients (Howland, 2008). Patients aged 65 to 79 have significant decreases in all thyroid hormones, particularly T3 (Xiong, et al., 2020). However, if her thyroid function was not an issue, and her folate levels were subpar, I would consider the addition of L-methyl folate therapy, as low folate levels are significantly associated with mood disorders (Ginsberg, et al., 2011). Appropriate dosing according to their study is 7.5 to 15mg daily (p. 21). Decreases in rates of insomnia and agitation in the patients studied were promising (p. 25).
List Contraindications Or Any Concerns That Would Be Problematic
Treatment for hypothyroidism in the elderly is controversial (Xiong, et al., 2020), I would be concerned that this might not solve her problem quickly enough, or at all. There are limited sources of scientific evidence to use this as a long-term therapy (Stern, et al., 2016). L-methyl folate therapy may also not work as quickly as hoped for in terms of relieving insomnia, and dosing is currently at a fair range as mentioned earlier. My concern is that I would have to add another pharmaceutical agent such as bupropion or mirtazapine to possibly obtain faster relief from her troublesome symptoms. Adding these medications to an elderly patient already on multiple medications creates the problem of dizziness and increases the risk of falls.
What Check Points Would I Include?
I would like to start the patient on augmentation therapy with Cytomel and follow up in 4 weeks. However, if the patient experienced a further decrease in functioning, I would instruct her to contact me to seek other alternatives in her care. If she experienced worsening depression or insomnia, I would reevaluate her pharmacologic regimen and discuss the addition of bupropion or mirtazapine with her primary care physician to obtain the best but safest course of action for her.
Airaksinen, J., Komulainen, K., García-Velázquez, R., Määttänen, I., Gluschkoff, K., Savelieva, K., & Jokela, M. (2021). Subclinical hypothyroidism and symptoms of depression: Evidence from the national health and nutrition examination surveys (nhanes). Comprehensive Psychiatry, 109, 152253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2021.152253
Ginsberg, Oubre, & Daoud. (2011). Innovations in clinical neuroscience. Innovations in clinical neuroscience. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://web.s.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=145e2763-0e47-42e7-8bb0-5cd1823a4bda%40redis
Howland, R. H. (2008). 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
Levenson, J. C., Kay, D. B., & Buysse, D. J. (2015). The pathophysiology of insomnia. Chest, 147(4), 1179–1192. https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.14-1617
Stern MD, Theodore A., Maurizio, F. M., Wilens MD, Timothy E., & Rosenbaum MD, Jerrold F. (2016). Massachusetts general hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (1st ed.). Elsevier.
Xiong, J., Liu, S., Hu, K., Xiong, Y., Wang, P., & Xiong, L. (2021). Correction: Study of reference intervals for free triiodothyronine, free thyroxine, and thyroid-stimulating hormone in an elderly chinese han population. PLOS ONE, 16(6), e0253359. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253359
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