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Relapse Prevention in Major Depressive Disorder After Successful Acute Electroconvulsive Treatment: a 6-month Double-blind Comparison of Three Fixed Dosages of Escitalopram and a Fixed Dose of Nortriptyline - Lessons from a Failed Randomised Trial of the Danish University Antidepressant Group (DUAG-7)

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INTRODUCTION: Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is an effective treatment for severe depression but carries a risk of relapse in the following months.

METHODS: Major depressive disorder patients in a current episode attaining remission from ECT (17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) score≤9) received randomly escitalopram 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg or nortriptyline 100 mg as monotherapies and were followed for 6 months in a multicentre double-blind set-up. Primary endpoint was relapse (HAM-D17≥16).

RESULTS: As inclusion rate was low the study was prematurely stopped with only 47 patients randomised (20% of the planned sample size). No statistically significant between-group differences could be detected. When all patients receiving escitalopram were compared with those receiving nortriptyline, a marginal superiority of nortriptyline was found (p=0.08). One third of patients relapsed during the study period, and one third completed.

DISCUSSION: Due to small sample size, no valid efficacy inferences could be made. The outcome was poor, probably due to tapering off of non-study psychotropic drugs after randomisation; this has implications for future study designs. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00660062.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPharmacopsychiatry
Volume48
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)274-8
Number of pages5
ISSN0176-3679
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

ID: 45954772