Desvenlafaxine and Weight Change in Major Depressive Disorder



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Objective: To characterize weight change during short- and longer-term treatment with desvenlafaxine (administered as desvenlafaxine succinate) for major depressive disorder (MDD).

Method: Data from 9 short-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies and 1 longer-term relapse-prevention trial conducted between September 2002 and January 2007 were analyzed. Adult outpatients with a primary diagnosis of MDD using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition received fixed- or flexible-dose desvenlafaxine or placebo for 8 weeks in the short-term studies. In the longer-term study, responders to 12 weeks of open-label desvenlafaxine treatment were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with desvenlafaxine or placebo for 6 months. Mean weight changes and incidence of potentially clinically important changes were evaluated.

Results: In the short-term studies (desvenlafaxine: n = 1,834; placebo: n = 1,116), mean decreases in weight associated with desvenlafaxine were small but statistically significant compared with baseline (P < .05) and with placebo (final evaluation: –0.82 kg desvenlafaxine vs + 0.05 kg placebo; P < .001). Likewise, during the 12-week, open-label phase of the relapse-prevention study (n = 594), a small but statistically significant mean decrease in weight from baseline (–0.8 kg; P < .001) occurred. Small mean increases in weight (< 1 kg) were observed with both desvenlafaxine (n = 190) and placebo (n = 185) throughout the relapse-prevention phase, with no statistical difference between desvenlafaxine- and placebo-treated patients at the final evaluation. Less than 1% of desvenlafaxine-treated patients experienced a clinically meaningful weight change.

Conclusions: Desvenlafaxine was not associated with clinically significant weight change during short- or longer-term treatment.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(1):e1–e8

Submitted: November 10, 2008; accepted March 12, 2009.

Published online: February 25, 2010 (doi:10.4088/PCC.08m00746blu).

Corresponding author: Karen A. Tourian, MD, Wyeth, a company of the Pfizer Group, Division Wyeth Research, Coeur Défense, Tour A, La Défense 4, 110 Esplanade du Générale de Gaulle 92931 Paris, La Défense Cedex, France (

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(1):e1-e8