Fluvoxamine as effective as clomipramine against symptoms of severe depression: results from a multicentre, double-blind study.

Research paper by Joseph J Zohar, Harman H Keegstra, Lucien L Barrelet

Indexed on: 19 Feb '03Published on: 19 Feb '03Published in: Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental


Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are better tolerated than tricyclic antidepressants, their efficacy in severe depression remains to be further elucidated.A double-blind, multicentre study was conducted in 86 severely depressed inpatients (>or= 25 on the 17-item Hamilton depression rating scale [HAMD] total score) to compare the efficacy and safety of fluvoxamine with that of clomipramine. Following placebo run-in, 86 patients were randomised to receive fluvoxamine or clomipramine (100-250 mg/day) for 8 weeks.Fluvoxamine and clomipramine both resulted in marked improvements; there were no statistically significant differences between them on the 17-item HAMD total score, the clinical global impression severity of illness or global improvement items or the Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale, at any visit. At the end of the study, 71% in the fluvoxamine group and 69% in the clomipramine group were responders (>or= 50% decrease in 17-item HAMD total score). However, fluvoxamine was better tolerated than clomipramine. Clomipramine was associated with a higher incidence of overall and treatment-related adverse events. In addition, the percentage of patients discontinued prematurely due to adverse events was more than twice as high with clomipramine than with fluvoxamine (24% vs 11%).Fluvoxamine and clomipramine are equally effective in severe depression, but fluvoxamine has a better safety and tolerability profile.