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Zentralbl Gynakol. 2000;122(4):195-202.

[A double-blind comparative study of the effectiveness and tolerance of paroxetine and amitriptyline in treatment of breast cancer patients with clinically assessed depression].

[Article in German]

Erratum in

  • Zentralbl Gynakol 2000;122(7):389.



In this double-blind, non-placebo controlled study [corrected], 179 patients with treated breast cancer who fulfilled the ICD-10 criteria for an acute depressive episode underwent an 8-week course of antidepressant treatment with either the tricyclic amitriptyline (75-150 mg, n = 87) or the serotonin-reuptake inhibitor paroxetine (20-40 mg, n = 88).


The change in clinical status relative to baseline was measured with the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the Clinical Global Impression (CGI), the Functional Living Index-Cancer (FLIC) and the Patient Global Evaluation.


Both treatment groups showed significant improvement in all parameters at weeks 3, 5 and 8. At no time was there a significant difference in the efficacy of the antidepressants used. Adverse events, most of which were transitory, were reported by 53% of the patients in the paroxetine group and 60% in the amitriptyline group. The 8-week treatment was completed by 81% of the paroxetine and 76% of the amitriptyline patients.


The results of this study show that depression in breast-cancer patients can be correctly diagnosed and adequately treated by non-psychiatrists. The treatment with both medications was carried out in dose ranges which correspond to that employed in physically well patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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