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Duloxetine Efficacy for Major Depressive Disorder in Male vs. Female Patients: Data From 7 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials

J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(5):761-770

Objective: A number of studies have suggested potential gender differences in the efficacy of antidepressant medications. Pooled data from double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were utilized to compare the efficacy of duloxetine in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in male and female patients.

Method: Efficacy data were pooled from 7 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of duloxetine. These studies represent all available data from U.S. acute-phase, placebo-controlled studies of duloxetine for the treatment of MDD. Patients (aged > = 18 years) meeting DSM-IV criteria for MDD received duloxetine (40-120 mg/day; men, N = 318; women, N = 578) or placebo (men, N = 242; women, N = 484) for up to 9 weeks. Efficacy measures included the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17) total score, HAM-D17 subscales (core, Maier, anxiety, retardation, sleep), the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness scale (CGI-S) and Patient Global Impression of Improvement scale (PGI-I), the Quality of Life in Depression Scale (QLDS), and Visual Analog Scales (VAS) for pain. The first patient visit was February 1, 1999, and the last patient visit was November 27, 2002.

Results: In both male and female patients, duloxetine produced significantly greater improvement in HAM-D17, CGI-S, and PGI-I when compared with placebo (p < .05). Treatment-by-gender interactions did not reach statistical significance, indicating that the magnitude of duloxetine's treatment effects did not differ significantly between male and female patients. However, there was a trend for female patients to show a more robust response than male patients to both duloxetine and placebo. On the basis of VAS assessments of pain severity, duloxetine-treated female patients appeared to exhibit greater improvement than male patients, while women receiving placebo had smaller responses than placebo-treated men. Improvements in quality of life were significantly greater or both men (p = .006) and women (p = .001) receiving duloxetine than placebo and showed no significant difference by gender.

Conclusion: In this analysis of pooled data, the efficacy of duloxetine did not differ significantly in male and female patients.​