New Drug Funded To Help Depression Sufferers

A new drug for people suffering depression who are resistant to other medications is being funded by Pharmac from today.

Mirtazapine (Avanza) would be funded for people who had tried other types of antidepressant without an adequate response, Pharmac's medical director Dr Peter Moodie said.

The Government drug funding agency already funded 16 antidepressant medications, but mirtazapine was a different type so might help people for whom other treatments hadn't worked, he said.

"There are many different causes and facets of depression and it is a major source of concern in the community," Dr Moodie said.

"Our view -- and that of our clinical advisory committees -- is that a wide range of these treatments is needed."

A particular need had been identified by Pharmac's clinical advisory committees for people who suffered severe depression and had not responded well to currently funded treatments, he said.

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