Fluoxetine and desipramine in major depressive disorder

Charles L. Bowden, Alan F. Schatzberg, Alan Rosenbaum, Salvador A. Contreras, Jacqueline A. Samson, E. Dessain, Mary Sayler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The efficacy and safety of fluoxetine and desipramine were compared in a 6-week double-blind, parallel group study of patients with major depression. Twenty-five were studied while hospitalized for treatment, and 33 were studied as outpatients. Improvement on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression was significant for both treatments from week 1 through the end of the study and did not differ between the two treatments at any week. Overall, 64% of fluoxetine-treated patients and 68% of desipramine-treated patients had at least a 50% reduction in Hamilton Depression score.We assessed whether improvement relatively early in treatment was predictive of categorical response at 6 weeks. Among fluoxetine-treated patients, but not desipramine-treated patients, the week 3 change in the Hamilton Depression mood item was significantly predictive of the response at 6 weeks. Patients treated with fluoxetine had significantly fewer side effects than those treated with desipramine. Desipramine, but not fluoxetine, caused a persistent increase in heart rate. The results suggest that early signs of response to fluoxetine are not dependent on achieving steady-state levels of the drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluoxetine and desipramine in major depressive disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this