Treatment‐resistant depression (TRD) is a debilitating chronic mental illness that confers increased morbidity and mortality, decreases the quality of life, impairs occupational, social, and offspring development, and translates into increased costs on the healthcare system. The goal of this study is to reach an agreement on the concept, definition, staging model, and assessment of TRD.
This study involved a review of the literature and a modified Delphi process for consensus agreement. The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation II guidelines were followed for the literature appraisal. Literature was assessed for quality and strength of evidence using the grading, assessment, development, and evaluations system. Canadian national experts in depression were invited for the modified Delphi process based on their prior clinical and research expertize. Survey items were considered to have reached a consensus if 80% or more of the experts supported the statement.
Fourteen Canadian experts were recruited for three rounds of surveys to reach a consensus on a total of 27 items. Experts agreed that a dimensional definition for treatment resistance was a useful concept to describe the heterogeneity of this illness. The use of staging models and clinical scales was recommended in evaluating depression. Risk factors and comorbidities were identified as potential predictors for treatment resistance.
TRD is a meaningful concept both for clinical practice and research. An operational definition for TRD will allow for opportunities to improve the validity of predictors and therapeutic options for these patients.