Background: Dysthymic disorder is a relatively common illness that is often treated with antidepressants. Compared with the study of major depression, there has been little systematic study of potentiation strategies for antidepressant-refractory dysthymic disorder.
Method: Following a patient's report of dramatic response to the addition of chromium supplementation to sertraline pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder (DSM-IV), the authors initiated a series of single-blind and open-label trials of chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate in the treatment of antidepressant-refractory dysthymic disorder.
Results: In a series of 5 patients, chromium supplementation led to remission of dysthymic symptoms. Single-blind substitution of other dietary supplements in each of the patients demonstrated specificity of response to chromium supplementation.
Conclusion: Preliminary observations suggest that chromium may potentiate antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder. Controlled studies are indicated to test the validity of these initial observations.