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It may not be quite time to throw out the psychiatrist’s couch, but Oxford Professor of Psychiatry Andrea Cipriani is hoping his research might transform the traditional approach to mental health treatment.

Professor Andrea Cipriani

Working with his multidisciplinary team at the Oxford Precision Psychiatry Lab, the Italian-born professor is conducting evidence-based research into treatment for depression; if successful, this research could transform the way people with mental health conditions are treated by medical practitioners in the NHS. 

Rather than embarking on long trial-and-error course, Professor Cipriani’s research looks to introduce a more rigorous, reliable approach to find the right treatment for each individual, using a shared decision-making process, which takes into account patients’ personal preferences and values.

The research will encompass information from 40,000 cases of depression from hundreds of randomised trials, as well as real world data about treatment impact on 700,000 NHS patients. The aim is to identify patterns within individual treatment journeys -  such as what has been proven to work or has been better tolerated for people with specific characteristics. In a field where – 'unfairly' – commonly prescribed medications are believed  not to be substantially different, this personalised approach will help clinicians and patients decide together which treatment suits them best, when they agree to start an antidepressant. Results from this research can save time and suffering for the patients, and also money and resources for the NHS, improving outcomes for all parties.

Read the full article on the University of Oxford website