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Original Research

Efficacy of the Novel Antidepressant Agomelatine on the Circadian Rest-Activity Cycle and Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind Comparison With Sertraline

Siegfried Kasper, MD, PhD; Göran Hajak, MD; Katharina Wulff, PhD; Witte J. G. Hoogendijk, MD, PhD; Angel Luis Montejo, MD, PhD; Enrico Smeraldi, MD; Janusz K. Rybakowski, MD; Maria-Antonia Quera-Salva, MD; Anna M. Wirz-Justice, PhD; Françoise Picarel-Blanchot, PhD; and Franck J. Baylé, MD

Published: February 15, 2010

Article Abstract

Objective: This study evaluates the efficacy of agomelatine, the first antidepressant to be an agonist at MT1/MT2 receptors and an antagonist at 5-HT2C receptors, versus sertraline with regard to the amplitude of the circadian rest-activity cycle and depressive and anxiety symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).

Method: Outpatients with DSM-IV-TR-defined MDD received either agomelatine 25 to 50 mg (n’ ‰=’ ‰154) or sertraline 50 to 100 mg (n’ ‰=’ ‰159) during a 6-week, randomized, double-blind treatment period. The study was conducted from 2005 to 2006. The main outcome measure was the relative amplitude of the individual rest-activity cycles, expressed as change from baseline to week 6 and collected from continuous records using wrist actigraphy and sleep logs. Secondary outcome measures were sleep efficiency and sleep latency, both derived from actigraphy, and efficacy on depression symptoms (17-Item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale total score and Clinical Global Impressions scale scores) and anxiety symptoms (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale total score and subscores).

Results: A significant difference in favor of agomelatine compared to sertraline on the relative amplitude of the circadian rest-activity cycle was observed at the end of the first week (P’ ‰=’ ‰.01). In parallel, a significant improvement of sleep latency (P’ ‰<‘ ‰.001) and sleep efficiency (P’ ‰<‘ ‰.001) from week 1 to week 6 was observed with agomelatine as compared to sertraline. Over the 6-week treatment period, depressive symptoms improved significantly more with agomelatine than with sertraline (P’ ‰<‘ ‰.05), as did anxiety symptoms (P’ ‰<‘ ‰.05).

Conclusions: The favorable effect of agomelatine on the relative amplitude of the circadian rest-activity/sleep-wake cycle in depressed patients at week 1 reflects early improvement in sleep and daytime functioning. Higher efficacy results were observed with agomelatine as compared to sertraline on both depressive and anxiety symptoms over the 6-week treatment period, together with a good tolerability profile. These findings indicate that agomelatine offers promising benefits for MDD patients.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN49376288

Volume: 71

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