Milnacipran plasma levels and antidepressant
response in Japanese major depressive patients

Higuchi H, Yoshida K, Takahashi H, Naito S, Kamata M,
Ito K, Sato K, Tsukamoto K, Shimizu T, Nakanishi M, Hishikawa Y.
Omagari City Hospital,
210 Aza Sekihigashi, Iida,
Omagari, Akita 014-0067, Japan.
Hum Psychopharmacol. 2003 Jun;18(4):255-9


The relationship between antidepressant effects and plasma levels of milnacipran was studied in 49 cases of major depression without psychotic features during 6 weeks of milnacipran treatment. The daily dose of milnacipran was 50 mg/day for the first week, and up to 100 mg/day thereafter. Depressive symptoms were evaluated by the Montgomery and Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS) before treatment and at 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks after the beginning of this study. Thirty-four patients (69.4%) were responders (defined as a 50% or greater decrease in the baseline MADRS score). Significant differences of MADRS scores were seen from 1 week after the beginning of this study (p=0.004, unpaired t-test) between responders and nonresponders. The mean plasma milnacipran level of responders, 82.0 +/- 29.4 ng/ml, was similar to that of non-responders, 78.6+/-23.1 ng/ml; there was no significant difference between responders and nonresponders. Neither a significant linear nor a curvilinear relationship was obtained between the final MADRS score and the plasma levels of milnacipran. Although there was no significant relationship between the plasma levels of milnacipran and the antidepressant response, milnacipran should be considered an efficacious agent in the treatment of major depressive patients.
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