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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Feb;23(1):27-30.

A prospective trial of bupropion SR augmentation of partial and non-responders to serotonergic antidepressants.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5723, USA.


Many patients fail to achieve an adequate response to a given antidepressant trial. The best-studied augmentation agents, lithium and thyroid supplementation are less commonly used. Augmenting antidepressants with bupropion has become an increasingly common strategy in the treatment of resistant depression. Several case reports and 2 open label studies suggest efficacy of this strategy. The purpose of this study is to further examine the utility of bupropion sustained release (SR) augmentation in patients with inadequate response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Patients who met DSM-IV criteria for major depression and had failed to achieve adequate response to an SSRI were considered for this study. Eligible patients were required to have a score of 16 on the 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). Patients were treated openly for 6 weeks with bupropion SR added to their existing antidepressant. The dose range of bupropion was 150 to 300 mg per day. At each visit, patients were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Hamilton Depression Ratings Scale (HDRS), and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI). Twenty-eight patients (12 men, 16 women) entered the study. Twenty-five patients completed the six-week trial. With respect to the clinical benefit of bupropion SR augmentation, 15 out of 28, or 54% of patients, were classified as responders, showing a decrease in their HDRS or BDI scores of 50% or more between baseline and Week 6. This prospective, open-label trial supports the use of bupropion SR in the augmentation of SSRIs and venlafaxine. Placebo controlled trials should be completed to further evaluate the efficacy of this strategy.

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