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Am J Psychiatry. 2011 Jul;168(7):689-701. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10111645. Epub 2011 May 2.

Combining medications to enhance depression outcomes (CO-MED): acute and long-term outcomes of a single-blind randomized study.

Author information

1
Duke–National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Two antidepressant medication combinations were compared with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor monotherapy to determine whether either combination produced a higher remission rate in first-step acute-phase (12 weeks) and long-term (7 months) treatment.

METHOD:

The single-blind, prospective, randomized trial enrolled 665 outpatients at six primary and nine psychiatric care sites. Participants had at least moderately severe nonpsychotic chronic and/or recurrent major depressive disorder. Escitalopram (up to 20 mg/day) plus placebo, sustained-release bupropion (up to 400 mg/day) plus escitalopram (up to 20 mg/day), or extended-release venlafaxine (up to 300 mg/day) plus mirtazapine (up to 45 mg/day) was delivered (1:1:1 ratio) by using measurement-based care. The primary outcome was remission, defined as ratings of less than 8 and less than 6 on the last two consecutive applications of the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology--Self-Report. Secondary outcomes included side effect burden, adverse events, quality of life, functioning, and attrition.

RESULTS:

Remission and response rates and most secondary outcomes were not different among treatment groups at 12 weeks. The remission rates were 38.8% for escitalopram-placebo, 38.9% for bupropion-escitalopram, and 37.7% for venlafaxine-mirtazapine, and the response rates were 51.6%-52.4%. The mean number of worsening adverse events was higher for venlafaxine-mirtazapine (5.7) than for escitalopram-placebo (4.7). At 7 months, remission rates (41.8%-46.6%), response rates (57.4%-59.4%), and most secondary outcomes were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS:

Neither medication combination outperformed monotherapy. The combination of extended-release venlafaxine plus mirtazapine may have a greater risk of adverse events.

PMID:
21536692
DOI:
10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10111645
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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