Pilot study comparing in blind the therapeutic effect of two doses of agomelatine, melatoninergic agonist and selective 5HT2C receptors antagonist, in the treatment of major depressive disorders
Loo H, Dalery J, Macher JP, Payen A.
Service Hospitalo-Universitaire de Sante Mentale et Therapeutique,
Secteur 75 G 21, Hopital Sainte-Anne,
7, rue Cabanis, 75674 Paris cedex 14.
Encephale 2002 Jul-Aug;28(4):356-62


Rational and method - Two doses of agomelatine (S-20098), a novel potential antidepressant drug with a new pharmacological profile (melatonin agonist and selective 5HT2C antagonist -MASSA), were compared in a double-blind, randomised, pilot study in order to estimate the antidepressant activity shown in preclinical data. Inpatients suffering from major depressive disorder (DSM III-R criteria) and presenting a minimal score of 25 for MADRS were selected at D -7. After one week of run-in placebo treatment, included patients received one evening dose of agomelatine (either 5 or 100 mg) for 4 to 8 weeks. Hospitalization was required at least for the first 3 weeks. Patients presenting a satisfying response to treatment (MADRS total score<15 or decrease 40% from inclusion score) could be treated as outpatients. A follow up of 2 weeks was performed after stopping the treatment. The total duration of the treatment period could vary, according to investigator's decision, between 7 and 11 weeks. Evaluation criteria included MADRS, HAMD-17, HAM-A, CGI and AMDP 5 at D0, D7, D14 and D28, and, when applicable, at D35, D42, D49 and D56. Safety evaluations included recording of adverse events, ECG monitoring and biology. Results - Thirty inpatients were selected and 28 included (14 per group). There was no major difference between groups at inclusion, neither for demographic nor evaluation criteria. One patient of each group was excluded of the ITT analysis; 19 patients completed the mandatory period up to D28: 10 in the 5 mg group and 9 in the 100 mg group; 10 patients (5 in each group) carried on the study during the optional period, up to D56 for 7 out of them (4 in the 5 mg group, 3 in the 100 mg group). Efficacy criteria showed a significant improvement in both groups, with highly significant within group evolutions (p<0.001 whatever the criteria) and without significant difference between groups. However, better results were observed in the 5 mg group compared to the 100 mg group. Total MADRS scores then decreased from 30.7 3.5 to 14.8 6.4 in the 5 mg group vs a decrease from 31.6 4.7 to 18.6 14.8 in the 100 mg group. Furthermore, significant improvement between D14 and D28 visits were only seen in the 5 mg group. Analysis of somatic complaints (AMDP 5) showed with both treatment a strong decrease of symptoms during the study, especially for items related to sleep disorders (difficulties for falling asleep, interrupted sleep, shortened sleep, early wakening and drowsiness). Acceptability was good for both doses of agomelatine. However, there were slightly more emergent adverse events and severe treatment-related adverse event in the 100 mg group. No modifications of cardio-vascular parameters nor biological abnormalities were observed in both groups. Conclusion - Preliminary clinical data with agomelatine confirm the potential antidepressant effect in accordance with positive preclinical results. There was no significant difference between 5 and 100 mg, both for efficacy and for safety. However, the data suggest that 5 mg could be a at least as effective and slightly better tolerated dose than 100 mg. Further double-blind controlled studies versus active comparators and placebo are required in order to confirm these results.
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