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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1991 Jun;11(3):166-74.

High-dose fluoxetine: efficacy and activating-sedating effects in agitated and retarded depression.

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Division of Clinical Neurosciences, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285.


The effects of high-dose fluoxetine (median 80 mg/day), standard-dose imipramine (median 200 mg/day), and placebo were studied in 706 outpatients meeting DSM-III criteria for major depressive disorder. Baseline psychomotor activity of each patient was prospectively categorized as agitated, retarded, or neither. Rates of occurrence of total and significant (leading to discontinuation) activating adverse events (insomnia, agitation, anxiety, nervousness) and sedating events (somnolence, asthenia) were compared between treatments on an overall basis and within categories of baseline psychomotor activity. Additionally, these rates were compared across baseline psychomotor activity for each treatment. Efficacy was evaluated on an overall basis and with respect to baseline psychomotor activity. There was more total activation with fluoxetine than placebo (p = 0.008), but total activation with fluoxetine (28%) showed only a trend (p = 0.092) for being greater than with imipramine (21%). Discontinuations for activation with fluoxetine (5%) did not differ from imipramine (5%). Sedation and discontinuations for sedation with both fluoxetine and imipramine significantly exceeded placebo. The only drug-drug difference in discontinuations was for sedation where imipramine (11%) exceeded fluoxetine (5%; p = 0.008). Only for the occurrence of sedation with imipramine (47% among patients retarded at baseline) was there a significant association with baseline psychomotor activity (p = 0.021). Both fluoxetine and imipramine were superior to placebo and equal in efficacy in decreasing total Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the sleep disturbance HAM-D factor, and the anxiety/somatization HAM-D factor scores. These improvements were independent of baseline psychomotor activity.

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