This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Original Research

The Effectiveness of Antidepressants in Elderly Depressed Outpatients: A Prospective Case Series Study

Nicole Mittmann, Nathan Herrmann, Kenneth I. Shulman, Ivan L. Silver, Usoa E. Busto, E. Keith Borden, Claudio A. Naranjo, and Neil H. Shear

Published: October 31, 1999

Article Abstract

Background: This study examined the effectiveness of antidepressants in a group of elderly depressed outpatients by assessing depression prevalence and recording adverse events over time.

Method:A prospective practice-based observational study (1991-1994) included consecutive outpatients at least 65 years of age with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of major affective disorder and who were prescribed antidepressant medications. Depressive symptoms were examined over time (stage 1 = 0 to 2 months; stage 2 = 2 to 6 months; stage 3 = 6 months to 2 years) with the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The cutoff scores of MADRS 18 were used in survival statistics. Adverse events were recorded systematically.

Results:A total of 213 patients were seen over 2677 visits (mean ± SD age = 75.5 ± 6.1 years). MADRS scores for 85.8% of patients declined to below 18 within the first 2 months of antidepressant treatment. MADRS scores were above 18 for 37.3% of patients after 6 months and for 37.1% after 2 years. The mean time to decline in MADRS scores to below 18 in stage 1 was 36.1 days, and there was a significant difference between the antidepressant classes (log rank = 8.3, df = 3, p = .04), with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)/reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A (RIMAs) having shorter times to response.The mean time to reach scores above cutoff during stage 2 was 144.3 days (log rank = 5.7, df = 3, p = .13)and during stage 3, 538.6 days (log rank = 9.8, df = 3, p = .02). Patients receiving TCAs and MAOIs/RIMAs had longer durations of MADRS scores below cutoff during stage 3 than those taking atypical antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. All antidepressant classes reported similar adverse event profiles.

Conclusion:This study systematically examined antidepressant effectiveness in a prospective design. TCAs and MAOIs/RIMAs were shown to be superior in effectiveness during 2 of the 3 treatment stages.

Volume: 60

Quick Links:

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article


Buy this Article as a PDF