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Research Article| Volume 54, ISSUE 8, P806-817, October 15, 2003

Randomized, Placebo-Controlled trial of nefazodone maintenance treatment in preventing recurrence in chronic depression

      Abstract

      Background

      Maintenance treatment to prevent recurrences is recommended for chronic forms of major depressive disorder (MDD), but few studies have examined maintenance efficacy of antidepressants with chronic MDD. This randomized, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of nefazodone in preventing recurrence was conducted for patients with chronic MDD.

      Methods

      A total of 165 outpatients with chronic, nonpsychotic MDD, MDD plus dysthymic disorder (“double-depression”), or recurrent MDD with incomplete inter-episode recovery, who achieved and maintained a clinical response during acute and continuation treatment with either nefazodone alone or nefazodone combined with psychotherapy, were randomized to 52 weeks of double-blind nefazodone (maximum dose 600 mg/day) or placebo. The occurrence of major depressive episodes during maintenance treatment was assessed with the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, a DSM-IV MDD checklist, and a blinded review of symptom exacerbations by a consensus committee of research clinicians.

      Results

      Application of a competing-risk model that estimated the conditional probability of recurrence among those patients remaining on active therapy revealed a significant (p = .043) difference between nefazodone (n = 76) and placebo (n = 74) when the latter part of the 1-year maintenance period was emphasized. At the end of 1 year, the conditional probability of recurrence was 30.3% for nefazodone-treated patients, compared with 47.5% for placebo-treated patients. Prior concomitant psychotherapy during acute/continuation treatment, although enhancing the initial response, was not associated with lower recurrence rates. Discontinuations due to adverse events were relatively low for both nefazodone (5.3%) and placebo (4.8%). Somnolence was significantly greater among the patients taking active medication (15.4%), compared with placebo (4.6%).

      Conclusions

      Nefazodone is well-tolerated and is an effective maintenance therapy for chronic forms of MDD.

      Keywords

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