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J Psychiatr Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;36(6):437-48.

A critical examination of the sensitivity of unidimensional subscales derived from the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to antidepressant drug effects.

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1
Clinical Biostatistics, Wyeth Research, 500 Arcola Road, Collegeville, PA 19426, USA. entsuaa@wyeth.com

Abstract

Unidimensional subscales for assessment of major depression may be more sensitive to antidepressant drug effects than the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). To further examine this possibility, we analyzed pooled data from eight comparable, well-controlled clinical trials of venlafaxine and compared such subscales and the 17-item HAM-D (HAM-D(17)) based on effect size and number of patients required for 80% power. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the HAM-D among intent-to-treat patients (2045) randomly assigned to receive venlafaxine (immediate release, n = 474; extended release, n = 377), one of several selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (n = 748), or placebo (n = 446) for up to 8 weeks. With SSRIs or venlafaxine vs. placebo, subscales yielded effect sizes (0.328-0.528) 16 to 76% larger than the HAM-D(17) did (0.237 and 0.396, respectively), and required 31 to 64% fewer patients for 80% power. With venlafaxine vs. SSRIs, the subscales showed no advantage over the HAM-D(17); all devices yielded comparable, positive effect sizes (0.183-0.195). Final subscale scores significantly predicted (all P < 0.05) whether patients met criteria for remission (eg, HAM-D(17) score of < or = 7). These findings suggest that unidimensional subscales are more sensitive to antidepressant drug effects than the HAM-D(17) is, but only in active agent/placebo comparisons. Our data further suggest the subscales can predict the presence of remission. Given these findings, prudent use of these subscales may be appropriate, cost-effective, and informative.

PMID:
12393314
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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