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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. zaratec@intra.nimh.nih.gov



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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