Safety and efficacy of high dose of venlafaxine XL
in treatment resistant major depression

Mbaya P.
Laureate House, Wythenshawe Hospital,
Southmoor Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester, M23 9LT, UK.
Hum Psychopharmacol 2002 Oct;17(7):335-9


AIM: The aim of the study was to look at efficacy and the safety profile of high dose (450-600 mg) venlafaxine XL in five patients with treatment resistant major depressive illness. METHODS: Five patients with treatment resistant depression were treated with high dose venlafaxine XL. Efficacy was evaluated using the Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS), the 21-item Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAM-D-21) and the clinical global impressions (CGI) scale. Level of functioning was evaluated by social adaptation self-evaluation scale (SASS). Body weight, supine pulse and blood pressure were recorded. RESULTS: The response rate was based on a 50% decrease in MADRS and HAM-D scores between weeks 1 and 24. There was a more than 50% decrease in MADRS scores in 3 of 5 patients and 4 of 5 patients in HAM-D scores. There was a trend to improvement of SASS scores in three of the study patients and in two of them the mean scores were within the normal range. Supine pulse and blood pressure remained stable in four patients, except in one patient where there was a slight increase although the final reading at week 24 was normal. Weight was relatively stable in all three patients where it was recorded, but in one patient there was a slight increase which may have been due to an atypical neuroleptic the patient was taking at the time. CONCLUSION: High dose venlafaxine was safe, well tolerated and effective in this small number of severe treatment resistant patients with major depression and it also improved social functioning.
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