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J Affect Disord. 1996 Jun 20;39(1):1-6.

Pharmacotherapy for major depression with melancholic features: relative efficacy of tricyclic versus selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


The effectiveness of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were contrasted in endogenous/melancholic depression. By reviewing Hamilton Depression Rating data from controlled trials, the data indicate that TCAs are consistently more effective than the SSRIs. Despite the wide use of SSRIs in the treatment of depression, it seems reasonable that clinicians subtype their depressed patients and treat melancholic patients first with a course of TCAs. For melancholic patients who have not responded to a SSRI, pharmacotherapeutic alternatives include (1) a TCA alone; (2) TCA augmentation of the SSRI, or (3) lithium augmentation of the SSRI.

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