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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1995 Jul;120(1):109-15.

Treatment of depressive outpatients with lorazepam, alprazolam, amytriptyline and placebo.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Munich, Germany.


This randomized double-blind study in 342 mildly to moderately depressive outpatients investigated the antidepressant effectiveness and speed of action of lorazepam, alprazolam and amitriptyline versus placebo. Six weeks of drug treatment were followed by a drug taper period, a control period with placebo and a control period without placebo, of 2 weeks duration each. Clinical improvement was assessed by rating scales (Clinical Global Impressions, Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety) and patient's self-ratings (Patient's Global Impressions, Self-rating Depression Scale and Visual Analogue Scale). At the end of week 6 all active drugs showed similar efficacy which was significantly superior to placebo. Compared to placebo, onset of efficacy was earlier on benzodiazepines than on amitriptyline . While tapering by decreasing the dosage, replacing drug with placebo and finally discontinuing placebo, clear withdrawal phenomena were not seen, but 20% of patients, equally distributed to all treatment groups, did not want to stop taking tablets after replacing drug with placebo. Drop-out rate during the treatment period was very low (9%). Significantly interfering adverse effects were seen in 27 patients, without predominance in one of the active drug groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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