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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1994 Winter;9(4):271-9.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing mianserin and amitriptyline in moderately depressed outpatients.

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  • 1Pharmacology Research Institute, Irvine, CA.


We report on the results of a study comparing mianserin with amitriptyline and placebo, in outpatients with major depression (DSM-III 296.2 or 296.3). One hundred and forty-nine patients were randomized to mianserin (n = 50), amitriptyline (n = 50) or placebo (n = 49). Medication was taken in a nightly (qhs) dose. During Week 1, the maximum dose was 60 mg mianserin, 120 mg amitriptyline or two placebo capsules. Beginning at Day 7 (through Day 42) maximum dosages were 150 mg mianserin, 300 mg amitriptyline or five placebo capsules. At multiple weeks and endpoint, statistically significant reductions in the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) 17- and 21-item scores were recorded for both active drugs compared with placebo. Positive results with the HAM-D were corroborated by other measures of efficacy. There were no statistically significant differences between mianserin and amitriptyline in terms of efficacy; however, the results do suggest a more rapid therapeutic response for mianserin compared with amitriptyline, in terms of percentage of patients showing > or = 50% improvement at Weeks 2 (30% vs 23%) and 4 (61% vs 44%). The most common adverse experiences were somnolence (amitriptyline and mianserin 60%, placebo 31%) and dry mouth (amitriptyline 76%, mianserin 30% and placebo 20%). Our results indicate that mianserin is clearly superior to placebo, compares favorably with amitriptyline, and is a safe, well-tolerated, effective medication in the treatment of depressed outpatients.

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