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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1997 Feb;17(1):44-8.

Concurrent treatment of nonresistant major depression with desipramine and lithium: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.


The objective of this study was to compare the onset, rate of antidepressant (AD) response, and treatment outcome of depressed patients treated for 5 weeks with either the concomitant administration of the tricyclic AD desipramine (DMI) and lithium carbonate (Li) or with DMI alone. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 31 nonpsychotic, mild to moderately depressed outpatients (DSM-III-R unipolar or bipolar major depression) were randomly assigned to 5 weeks of treatment with DMI plus Li (N = 16) or DMI plus placebo (N = 15). Drug dosages were adjusted to achieve therapeutic plasma levels. Clinical state was rated weekly by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Clinical Global Impression Scale, a Visual Analogue Self-Report Scale, and an adverse-effect form. Twenty-seven patients completed the study, 12 in the DMI-Li group and 15 in the DMI-placebo group. Four patients dropped out due to adverse events, all from the DMI-Li group. Both groups responded well to treatment, without a significant difference between them in the rate of response of final outcome. Sixty-seven percent (10/15) of the patients taking DMI only and 75% (9/12) of the patients taking DMI plus Li met our response criteria. The combination of DMI and Li was associated with significantly more adverse effects than DMI alone. Concurrent treatment with Li did not demonstrate an enhancement of either DMI's efficacy or its onset of action in these patients, suggesting that this strategy may not confer any additional benefit compared with DMI alone in mild to moderately depressed patients who are not preselected for nonresponse to an AD during their current depressive episode.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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