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Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Jan;161(1):171-4.

An open-label trial of riluzole in patients with treatment-resistant major depression.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Pathophysiology Branch, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH, Department of Health and Human Services, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



This study was conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of riluzole, a glutamate-modulating agent, in patients with recurrent major depression.


After a 1-week drug-free period, subjects 18 years or older with a diagnosis of recurrent major depression and a Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale score > or = 20 received riluzole monotherapy (100-200 mg/day) openly for 6 weeks.


Nineteen treatment-resistant depressed patients, 53% of whom were classified as having stage 2 treatment resistance or greater, received riluzole at a mean dose of 169 mg/day. Significant improvement occurred during weeks 3 through 6 for all patients and weeks 2 through 6 for completers.


Although preliminary, these results indicate that riluzole may have antidepressant properties in some patients.

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