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Early Career Psychiatrists

Whether to Increase or Maintain Dosage of Mirtazapine in Early Nonimprovers With Depression

Fumihiko Ueno, MD; Shinichiro Nakajima, MD, PhD; Takefumi Suzuki, MD, PhD; Takayuki Abe, PhD; Yuji Sato, MD, PhD; Masaru Mimura, MD, PhD; and Hiroyuki Uchida, MD, PhD

Published: April 22, 2015

Article Abstract

Objective: To compare outcomes between increasing versus maintaining the dose of mirtazapine in patients with depression without initial improvement.

Method: Data from a 6-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of mirtazapine in major depressive disorder (DSM-IV) conducted from November 2004 to December 2005 were used. Percentages of remitters (ie, a score of ≤ 7 in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HDRS-17]) and HDRS-17 score changes from baseline to week 6 were compared in the following 2 pairs, using Fisher exact test or mixed-effects model for repeated measures: (1) subjects who failed to show a ≥ 20% decrease in the HDRS-17 total scores at week 1 but were assigned to continue 15 mg/d (stay15 group) versus those who were assigned to increase the dose to 30 mg/d (increase30 group) and (2) subjects who failed to show a ≥ 20% decrease in the HDRS-17 total scores with 30 mg/d at week 2 but were assigned to continue 30 mg/d (stay30 group) versus those who were assigned to increase the dose to 45 mg/d (increase45 group).

Results: The increase30 group showed a numerically but not significantly higher remission rate and a significantly greater decrease in the HDRS-17 total score at week 6 than the stay15 group (34.7% [8 of 23 patients] vs 14.3% [3 of 21 patients], P = .2; least squares mean, −15.8 vs −10.9, P = .003). No significant differences were found between the increase45 and stay30 groups.

Conclusions: Dose increase of mirtazapine from 15 mg/d to 30 mg/d may be effective for patients with depression without initial improvement. However, effectiveness may not be the case beyond 30 mg/d.

Trial Registration: JapicCTI identifier: 152830

Volume: 76

Quick Links: Depression (MDD)

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