Venlafaxine in the Treatment of Postpartum Depression
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(8):592-596
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Although postpartum
depression is a highly prevalent illness, antidepressant
treatment studies of postpartum depression are sparse. Incomplete
recognition and treatment of puerperal illness place women at
risk for chronic depression and may have adverse effects on child
Method: An 8-week, flexible-dose, open
study of venlafaxine (immediate release; mean dose = 162.5
mg/day) was performed in a group of 15 women who met DSM-III-R
criteria for major depressive disorder with onset within the
first 3 months postpartum. Patients were assessed at baseline and
every 2 weeks across the study. Measurements of outcome included
the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the
Kellner Symptom Questionnaire, and the Clinical Global
Impressions scale (CGI).
Results: Despite baseline scores of
depression that were particularly high, response to treatment was
robust. Twelve of 15 patients experienced remission of major
depression (HAM-D score <= 7 or CGI score <= 2). Dramatic
decrease in anxiety paralleled the decrease in depression across
Conclusion: Venlafaxine is effective in
the treatment of postpartum major depression. Early
identification of women who suffer from postpartum mood
disturbance is critical to minimize the morbidity associated with
untreated mood disturbance and the effect of depression on
children and families.