Six months of desipramine for dysthymia: can dysthymic patients achieve normal social functioning?
Friedman RA, Markowitz JC, Parides M, Gniwesch L, Kocsis JH
The New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, NY 10021, USA.
J Affect Disord 1999 Aug; 54(3):283-6


BACKGROUND: There is evidence that antidepressant medication improves social dysfunction during acute treatment in dysthymic patients but it is unknown if the gain in social functioning persists or progresses with longer-term antidepressant treatment. We examine the effect of 6 months of desipramine treatment on social functioning in dysthymic patients. METHODS: Forty-six subjects with DSM-III-R dysthymia (70% with superimposed major depression) who had responded to 10 weeks of open-label desipramine (DMI) treatment received 16 additional weeks of continuation DMI. Social functioning was measured at weeks 0, 10 and 26 with the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report. RESULTS: Euthymia was maintained and a marginally significant trend for further improvement in overall social functioning appeared during continuation treatment. Only 24% of subjects achieved normative level of social adjustment after 6 months of DMI treatment. LIMITATIONS: The main limitation was the lack of a placebo control group. CONCLUSION: Acute improvement in social functioning persists during continuation treatment. However, most dysthymic patients did not achieve a community level of social adjustment. Significant social dysfunction persists in dysthymic patients with low levels of depressive symptomatology after 6 months of intense DMI treatment.
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