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Br J Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;170:345-50.

Controlled efficacy study of fluoxetine in dysthymia.

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1
Service Hospitalo-Universitaire de Santé Mentale et de Thérapeutique, Centre Hospitalier Sainte Anne, Paris, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There have been very few controlled studies of antidepressants in dysthymia, particularly in samples diagnosed reliably and with an adequate length of follow-up. In this investigation, we measured the long-term outcome in a large group of patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for dysthymia. This study was designed to investigate whether fluoxetine is effective in the treatment of dysthymia.

METHOD:

This randomised study including 140 patients, compared fluoxetine (91 patients) and placebo (49 patients) on a double-blind basis in two distinct phases: a short-term end-point (3 months with 20 mg/day fluoxetine) and a medium-term end-point (6 months) where the initial responders continued double-blind treatment unchanged and non-responders received an additional treatment of 20 mg/day fluoxetine.

RESULTS:

After three months of treatment, response was seen more frequently in the fluoxetine group (42/72) than in the placebo group (14/39, P < 0.0001). Improved patients at 3 months were still improved at 6 months. Furthermore, 50% of the nonresponders at 3 months improved and rated as responders at 6 months, after fluoxetine was increased to 40 mg daily.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study showed the significant and persistent action of fluoxetine on dysthymia. The finding that 50% of the non-responders at 3 months were improved at 6 months, after fluoxetine dosage was increased to 40 mg daily, argues in favour of treating dysthymic patients for at least 6 months, and with a higher dosage if the initial doses are ineffective.

PMID:
9246253
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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