Mood disorders are a significant health care issue in the elderly and are associated with suffering, functional decline, compromised quality of life, care-giver burden and increased rates of suicide and service utilization. Persistent depression worsens the outcome of other illnesses and increases non-suicide mortality. Only a third of depressed older adults achieve remission with another 20% showing a partial improvement. Adding an atypical antipsychotic to an antidepressant is one of the alternatives available for people who have failed to respond to drug therapy and a U.S. study of 93 people compared the effectiveness of risperidone to a placebo in terms of delaying relapse and preventing it altogether. The group taking risperidone were just as likely to suffer a relapse as those taking a placebo but they did go over twice as long before becoming ill again as the placebo group.
Alexopoulos, George S. ... [et al] - Placebo-controlled study of relapse prevention with risperidone augmentation in older patients with resistant depression American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry January 2008, 16(1), 21-30