Is the Noradrenergic Symptom Cluster a Valid Construct in Adjunctive Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder?

Objective: To identify symptoms potentially representative of a noradrenergic symptom cluster as possible predictors of response to the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI) edivoxetine when used as monotherapy or adjunctive treatment in patients with DSM-IV-TR major depressive disorder (MDD).

Methods: Pooled data from 4 adjunctive treatment trials (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [SSRI] + edivoxetine 6–18 mg/d vs SSRI + placebo; N = 2,066) and data from 1 monotherapy trial (edivoxetine 6–18 mg/d versus placebo; N = 495) were used to identify predictors of response related to noradrenergic symptoms using a resampling-based ensemble tree method. The trials were conducted from 2008 to 2013.

Results: In the pooled adjunctive trials, no subgroup was identified that demonstrated a greater edivoxetine-placebo treatment difference than the overall patient cohort. In the edivoxetine monotherapy trial, no subgroup showing greater mean edivoxetine-placebo differences on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale versus the overall patient cohort was identified; a subgroup (67%) with high b​aseline Massachusetts General Hospital Cognitive and Physical Functioning Questionnaire (CPFQ) total score ( 28) showed statistically significantly (P = .02) greater mean edivoxetine-placebo differences on the Sheehan Disability Scale versus the overall patient cohort, and subgroups with baseline CPFQ total score 28 (65%), CPFQ cognition dimension score 16 (63%), or CPFQ physical dimension score 13 (59%) showed statistically significantly (P .025) greater mean edivoxetine-placebo differences on the CPFQ total score versus the overall patient cohort.

Conclusions: While we could not identify symptoms predictive of response to the selective NRI edivoxetine used as adjunctive treatment, impaired cognition and physical symptoms may predict greater improvement during monotherapy.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers: NCT00840034, NCT01173601, NCT01187407, NCT01185340, NCT00795821

J Clin Psychiatry 2017;78(3):317–323

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m09972