Venlafaxine in treatment-resistant major depression:
a Canadian multicenter, open-label trial

de Montigny C, Silverstone PH, Debonnel G, Blier P, Bakish D
Department of Psychiatry,
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
J Clin Psychopharmacol 1999 Oct; 19(5):401-6


This was an 8-week, multicenter, open-label study of the efficacy and tolerability of venlafaxine in patients with treatment-resistant depression conducted in Canada. Inpatients or outpatients aged 18 to 70 years with major depression were eligible if they had a 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D-21) score of 2 > or = 18 and a documented history of unsatisfactory improvement after a minimum of 8 weeks of treatment with an adequate dose of an antidepressant. Treatment with venlafaxine was started at 37.5 mg twice daily, and the dose could be titrated upward to a maximum of 375 mg/day during the first 4 weeks on the basis of the investigator's assessment of clinical response and tolerability. Of the 159 patients enrolled, 152 were evaluable for efficacy. The mean daily venlafaxine dose was 260 mg/day. The mean HAM-D-21 score decreased by 52%, and the mean Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale score decreased by 50% from baseline to day 56. A response (50% improvement from baseline) was achieved by 58% of patients on the HAM-D-21, and a remission (> or = 75% improvement in the HAM-D-21) was observed in 28% at day 56. By day 56, 88% of patients had improved from baseline on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale. Only 8% of the patients discontinued for adverse events. The most common adverse events were headache, insomnia, nausea, constipation, diaphoresis, and xerostomia. In conclusion, these results suggest that venlafaxine is effective and well tolerated for the management of patients with treatment-resistant major depression.
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