Relapse prevention with gepirone ER
in outpatients with major depression

Keller MB, Ruwe FJ, Janssens CJ,
Sitsen JM, Jokinen R, Janczewski J.
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,
Brown University, Providence, RI 02906, USA.
J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 Feb;25(1):79-84


To evaluate long-term efficacy and tolerability of the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist, gepirone extended release (ER), a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled relapse prevention study was performed in patients with recurrent major depression (DSM-IV criteria). Patients 18 to 70 years, with a primary diagnosis of recurrent major depression (DSM-IV; 296.3) and a screening and baseline HAMD-17 total score >/=20 were eligible. After a 3- to 14-day (dependent on pretrial medication) single-blind placebo washout period, eligible patients entered an 8- or 12-week (depending on time to remission) open-label gepirone ER treatment period. They initially received a dose of 20 mg/d gepirone ER and were titrated to a dose of 40 to 80 mg/d. Patients who achieved remission (HAMD-17 total score /=16 or discontinuation for lack of efficacy. A total of 420 patients were treated in the open-label phase. Of these, 303 (72.1%) completed the open-label phase and 250 (59.5%) fulfilled the criteria for remission and were randomized into the double-blind continuation phase (gepirone ER: n = 126; placebo: n = 124). The mean (+/-SD) final titrated dose of gepirone ER was 61.9 (+/-17.0) mg/d in the double-blind continuation phase. The relapse rate in the gepirone ER group was statistically significantly lower than that in the placebo group, 23.0% versus 34.7%, respectively (P = 0.024). During the open-label phase, adverse events that occurred in more than 5% of patients were nausea (15.7%), dizziness (13.1%), headache (12.9%), insomnia (6.2%), and vertigo (6.0%). During the continuation phase, the incidence of newly or re-emerging adverse events was similar with gepirone ER (43.7%) and placebo (42.7%). Adverse events different from those occurring during the open-label phase were not apparent. All adverse events occurred in less than 5% of patients with the exception of flu syndrome and headache.In conclusion, gepirone ER at a dose range of 40 to 80 mg/d is effective for relapse prevention in patients with recurrent major depression. It is well tolerated during long-term treatment for up to approximately one year.
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