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J Affect Disord. 1994 Jul;31(3):151-64.

The pattern of physical symptom changes in major depressive disorder following treatment with amitriptyline or imipramine.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA.


The study describes a sequential analysis of depression-related physical symptoms and their relationship to imipramine and amitriptyline plasma levels over 4 weeks of treatment in 79 unipolar and bipolar patients hospitalized for major depressive disorder. Insomnia diminished in all patients after 2 weeks of drug administration. After 4 weeks, the sleep of patients whose depressive disorder has significantly improved was nearly normal, whereas patients who remained depressed showed continued sleep impairment. Reductions in loss of appetite, weight and sexual interest paralleled mood improvement. Tricyclic plasma levels significantly correlated with improved sleep. The findings suggest a close link between depressed mood and physical symptoms during recovery from major depressive disorder.

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