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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Jan;18(1):15-21.

Treatment of depression with comorbid anxiety disorders: differential efficacy of paroxetine versus moclobemide.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. s.pini@psico.med.unipi.it


To compare the efficacy and tolerability of moclobemide versus paroxetine for the treatment of depression with comorbid anxiety disorders. Outpatients fulfilling DSM-III-R criteria for major depression or dysthymia and for a co-occurring comorbid anxiety disorder (panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder) after a 1-week run-in phase were randomly assigned to open-label moclobemide (300-600 mg/day) or paroxetine (20-40 mg/day) for 4 months. Primary criterion for response was a 50% score reduction from baseline on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale scores. Mean changes in Clinical Global Impressions Severity of Illness and Improvement Scales (CGI-I) were also used to evaluate treatment response. Of the 123 patients included in the study, 65 were randomly assigned to moclobemide and 58 to paroxetine. At study end, the two treatment groups did not differ significantly in terms of proportion of responders. Treatment group differences emerged when comorbid anxiety diagnoses were considered. In patients with comorbid panic disorder, paroxetine was superior to moclobemide in improving both anxiety and depression (five patients out of 18 in the moclobemide group and nine out of 14 in the paroxetine group were rated as responders according to CGI-I, P = 0.04). Neither medication was superior in treating comorbid generalized anxiety disorder. These findings indicate that both moclobemide and paroxetine are effective for treatment of depression with comorbid anxiety disorders. However, in the subgroup with comorbid panic disorder, paroxetine is more effective than moclobemide in reducing both depressive and anxiety symptoms.

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