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Original Research

Sertraline Versus Imipramine Treatment of Comorbid Panic Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Ulla Lepola, MD, PhD; Mihaly Arato, MD, PhD, DSci; Young Zhu, PhD; and Carol Austin, MD

Published: June 15, 2003

Article Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of sertraline and imipramine in patients with comorbid panic disorder and major depressive disorder.

Method: Outpatients meeting a DSM-IV diagnosis of panic disorder and concurrent major depressive disorder were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to 26 weeks of double-blind treatment with either sertraline, in daily doses of 50 to 100 mg, or imipramine, in daily doses of 100 to 200 mg. Primary outcome measures were panic attack frequency (derived from patient diaries) and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).

Results: 138 patients were treated with sertraline (76% female; mean age = 40 years) and 69 with imipramine (70% female; mean age = 40 years). The symptoms of both major depressive disorder and panic disorder responded significantly and equivalently to both drugs. Endpoint improvement with sertraline versus imipramine, respectively, on the MADRS was 11.1 ± 10.8 versus 11.2 ± 10.4, and on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (CGI-I) was 2.1 ± 1.3 versus 2.4 ± 1.6. Among study completers, CGI-I responder rates were 88% with sertraline and 91% with imipramine. Treatment outcome was concordant for both diagnoses in approximately 70% of patients and discordant in approximately 30%. Overall, sertraline was significantly better tolerated with significantly fewer discontinuations due to adverse events (11% vs. 22%; chi2 = 4.39, df = 1, p = .04).

Conclusion: Both sertraline and imipramine were found to be highly effective treatments for both major depressive disorder and panic disorder, with sertraline showing significantly greater tolerability and compliance during long-term treatment than imipramine.

Volume: 64

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