Mirtazapine in Major Depression With Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Background: A high proportion of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have comorbid depressive illness. The presence of anxiety in depression has significant prognostic implications. Because of mirtazapine's early anxiolytic effects, the present study was undertaken as a preliminary investigation in patients with a diagnosis of major depression with comorbid GAD.

Method: Mirtazapine was administered to 10 patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder and comorbid GAD in an 8-week open-label study. Mirtazapine was increased from an initial daily dose of 15 mg to a maximum daily dose of 45 mg.

Results: Patients were found to have significant reductions in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores, Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety scores, and Beck Depression Inventory scores, with improvement noted after the first week of therapy and continuing improvement over the 8 weeks of study.

Conclusion: These positive preliminary findings support the further investigation of mirtazapine's potential value as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder in addition to its established efficacy as an antidepressant drug.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(7):446-448