Treating DSM-IV Depression with Atypical Features


Depression with atypical features is characterized by mood reactivity and 2 or more symptoms of vegetative reversal (including overeating, oversleeping, severe fatigue or leaden paralysis, and a history of rejection sensitivity). Another important feature of atypical depression is its preferential response to monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) treatment, especially phenelzine, relative to tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). The efficacy of newer agents relative to MAOIs and TCAs is unclear. This presentation reviews currently available treatments for DSM-IV depression with atypical features, focusing specifically on placebo-controlled trials. Although phenelzine shows the most efficacy in this population, treatment with TCAs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, cognitive-behavioral therapy, MAOIs other than phenelzine, and other agents are discussed. Following this presentation is a discussion on the treatment of depression with atypical features by experts in this subject area.

From the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, (Dr. Stewart) and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Dr. Thase).

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J Clin Psychiatry 2007;68(4):e10