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Original Research

A Large Open-Label Study of Venlafaxine in Depressed Outpatients by Community-Based Physicians

Russell T. Joffe, Alice M. Marshall, and David K. Lee

Published: October 15, 1998

Article Abstract

Background: Studies to date suggest that venlafaxine is effective, welltolerated, and safe in a broad spectrum of patients. We examined the clinical utility andtolerability of venlafaxine in patients treated by community-based psychiatrists andfamily physicians in a naturalistic clinical setting.

Method: Nineteen physicians each recruited 10 to 20 physicians to enroll5 patients each maximum, diagnosed with DSM-IV major depression or dysthymia. The patientswere at least moderately ill (Clinical Global Impressions) with a score of at least 32 onthe Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. After baseline clinical and laboratory assessments,each patient received 37.5 mg of venlafaxine b.i.d., with adjustments possible at the 5visits during the next 8 weeks.

Results: Of the 880 patients at baseline, 682 completed the 8-week study.The daily doses of venlafaxine ranged between 18.75 mg and 375 mg, with 80% receivingbetween 75 and 150 mg/day by 8 weeks. The intent-to-treat analysis revealed that at 8weeks, 62% (522 of 843) of patients were either much or very much improved. Nausea was themost frequent side effect, followed by somnolence, headache, and dry mouth.

Conclusion: Venlafaxine has good clinical utility and tolerability in acommunity-based sample of a broad spectrum of depressed outpatients.

Volume: 59

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