Last Updated 29 June 2015
Unipolar depression—comprising major depressive disorder (MDD), minor depression, and dysthymia—is a highly prevalent psychiatric disorder affecting nearly 85 million individuals in the seven major markets under study (United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and Japan). Throughout our 2014-2024 study period, the unipolar depression therapy market will consist almost entirely of generic products that dominate treatment, particularly in the early lines. Only a few branded products—namely Actavis’s vilazodone (Viibryd), Lundbeck/Takeda Pharmaceutical’s vortioxetine (Brintellix), Actavis/Pierre Fabre’s levomilnacipran (Fetzima), Otsuka Pharmaceutical/Lundbeck’s brexpiprazole, Actavis/Gedeon Richter/Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s cariprazine, Sumitomo Dainippon/Sunovion/Takeda Pharmaceutical’s lurasidone (Latuda), Alkermes’s ALKS-5461, and Naurex’s rapastinel—will be competing for market share during the forecast period in this highly genericized space. Because of generic competition from current therapies, it is unlikely that any emerging drugs will become dominating first-line treatments; however, low patient response rates and even lower remission rates following treatment with first-line therapies leave opportunity for adjunctive agents for MDD and for monotherapies targeting specific patient subpopulations, particularly those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or residual symptoms of depression.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • The unipolar depression market will decline during the first few years of our forecast period (2014-2016). What is causing this market decline? Will any new drugs enter the market during this time, and if so, what will be their place in the treatment armamentarium?

  • In 2017, the depression market will begin to experience a slow but steady upswing, owing in large part to uptake of some of the newly marketed depression therapies. Which new therapies will experience the most robust growth, and why? How do interviewed experts expect to incorporate these newer therapies into the depression treatment algorithm in the face of strong generic competition from many well-entrenched products?

  • By 2021, the depression market will have reached approximately $12 billion (from a low of $7.5 billion in 2015). Which drugs will be the market leaders in 2021? To what extent will patient share have shifted to newer agents from the older, inexpensive generic antidepressants, and what factors underlie this shift? Will there be any major changes in how depression is treated? Will any novel approaches to treating depression have reached the market?

  • In the final years of our forecast period (2022-2024), the depression market will again be in decline. What are the main reasons for this decline? Do any early-stage therapies have the potential to reverse this trend later in the forecast period? If so, where would such therapies fit into the treatment algorithm?


Markets covered: United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan.

Primary research: 32 country-specific interviews with psychiatrists and PCPs/GPs.

Epidemiology: 12-month prevalence of the unipolar depression population (consisting of patients with MDD, minor depression, or dysthymia); TRD (stages 1 and 2); MDD comorbid with chronic pain.

Emerging therapies: Phase II: 12 drugs; Phase III: 2 drugs; preregistration: 2 drugs. Coverage of 4 select preclinical and Phase I products.

Market forecast features: Using market research, primary research with key opinion leaders, and our proprietary forecasting model, we provide an in-depth examination of current and future unipolar depression diagnosis/drug-treatment trends and market performance over a ten-year forecast period (2014-2024).

Author(s): Angela M. Sparrow, Ph.D.
Kristin Dorfman, M.P.H., M.S.

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