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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Dec;23(6):535-9.

Comparison of response to fluvoxamine in nondemented elderly compared to younger patients affected by major depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry-San Raffaele Institute, Vita-Salute University, Via Stamira D'Ancona 20, 20127 Milan, Italy.


Although it is well established that the diagnosis and treatment of depression in the elderly are major health care problems, the relative efficacy of antidepressant treatment in the elderly compared with younger adults has not been definitively established. In this study, we analyzed antidepressant response in 528 nondemented consecutive inpatients affected by a major depressive episode. The sample was divided based on a cut-off of 60 years (< or = 60 n = 354; mean age 46.6 +/- 10.4 years; > 60 n = 174; mean age 66.1 +/- 4.2 years); all the patients were treated with fluvoxamine for at least 6 weeks and they were assessed weekly by using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Fluvoxamine proved to be effective in our elderly sample, even if antidepressant response was lower in the elderly compared with that of younger subjects (chi2 = 6.27, P = 0.01). Moreover, when compared with younger subjects, the older ones showed significantly slower reduction of depressive symptoms (P = 0.0006). This difference between the 2 age groups was evident since the 2nd week of treatment, and it appeared to be independent of other clinical variables.

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