How does the Clinaptica app work in practice?

 To demonstrate how the Clinaptica Depression Consultant app for iPad works, let’s start by reading "Do Antidepressants Help With Depression?", the moving personal story of prolific online writer Nancy Klatz Beal. After using this link to see the article at, please use your browser's "Back" feature and return here.


Richard J. Metzner, M.D.

Clinical Professor

Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA


OK. Welcome back. Now lets see what might have happened had Clinaptica been used in treating someone like Ms. Beal.

 She was fortunate in finding a dedicated physician’s assistant who reviewed her history and figured out what she needed when her depression returned, but what if she hadn’t been so fortunate? What if she were like many depressed patients who can’t find anyone who can treat them successfully? That’s where Clinaptica can help.

The Clinaptica app presents 17 items, requiring less than 2 minutes to answer. Many patients who do as well as Ms. Beal did on the SSRI fluoxetine (Prozac) before she relapsed give pre-treatment responses similar to Figure 1. The elevated red bar (M=16.00) accompanies the recommendation for an SSRI.

Figure 1

After the relapse, Ms. Beal reported that she didn't feel suicidal or any urge to harm herself and that she didn’t feel much of anything or have the energy to do anything. Patients with this pattern of depression produces scores and recommendations on the Clinaptica app such as those in Figure 2.


Figure 2

The heightened blue bar (A=18.00)  means an activating antidepressant like an NDRI (norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor) is recommended. The only antidepressant of that type in the US is bupropion (Wellbutrin). This medication "has a bit of a stimulant effect,"  as Ms. Beal said about the unnamed treatment that worked so well for her. Because serotonin and dopamine can suppress each other’s effects, some patients who have initially high M scores develop high A scores after treatment, and vice-versa. Clinaptica testing detects this process and enables health professionals to correct it more quickly than is typically the case.


Copyright 2012, Scaled Psychiatric Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.