Preliminary Evidence of Riluzole Efficacy in Antidepressant-Treated Patients with Residual Depressive Symptoms

Published:December 06, 2006DOI:


      Excessive glutamatergic neurotransmission may contribute to the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Recent evidence suggests that riluzole and other agents that target glutamate neurotransmission may show antidepressant activity.


      Ten patients with treatment-resistant depression had riluzole added to their ongoing medication regimen for 6 weeks, followed by an optional 6-week continuation phase. Depression and anxiety severity were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS). Linear mixed models were used to test for a linear trend in HDRS and HARS scores across time with treatment.


      Subjects’ HDRS and HARS scores declined significantly following the initiation of riluzole augmentation therapy. The effect of riluzole was significant at the end of the first week of treatment and persisted for the 12-week duration of the study.


      These data suggest that riluzole augmentation produces antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

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