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Few data exist that assess the presence of reversed and positive neurovegetative symptoms through successive depressive episodes. To assess the stability of depressive symptoms across episodes, we studied 74 outpatients with atypical unipolar major depression, diagnosed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R, before response to fluoxetine treatment and again after relapse on either fluoxetine or placebo. Patients were assessed at baseline with the Atypical Depression Diagnosis Scale and at baseline and during follow-up with the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Thirty-two (43%) of responders had a relapse or recurrence, 21 (66%) of whom had a predominance of reversed of positive neurovegetative symptoms at baseline. Nine of 10 (90%) patients with reversed symptoms at baseline had the same symptoms when they relapsed; seven of 11 (64%) of those with positive symptoms at baseline had positive symptoms again (kappa 0.557). Overall, five of 21 (24%) had changes in their disturbances in sleep, appetite, or weight when they relapsed. This study supports the relative stability of neurovegetative symptoms in atypical depression across episodes.
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Received in revised form: January 10, 1996
Received: October 19, 1994
© 1996 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc.