Innovation That Matters

Antidepressant app helps patients choose the best suited medication

Sport & Fitness

Start is a health app that helps patients track the effects of their antidepressants and determine if they are well suited.

Depression affects one in ten Americans at some point in their lives, but because it is a psychological illness there is no single medication that works for everyone. Instead, doctors prescribe antidepressants using an informed trial and error strategy, swapping to different medications if and when patients don’t fit with a drug or its side effects. Now, Start is a mobile health program from Iodine, which uses a smartphone app to help doctors and their patients track the effects of their medication and determine if it is suited to them over a six week period.

Once a patient has been prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor, they can input their medicine in the Start app. They can also fill in some personal information about how they are feeling, and their goals and issues. Next, the app provides information about what to expect from their treatment, including side effects. The user then checks in every couple of days, detailing how their medication is affecting them using the app’s comprehensive tools. Start generates a progress report every two weeks and a final report after six weeks, which the patient and their doctor can use to help determine if the medication is a good fit.

Start is available for free now from the App store. Could a similar platform be used to help women find the right contraceptive pill?



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