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Nortriptyline versus fluoxetine in the treatment of major depressive disorder: a six-month, double-blind clinical trial

Authors Hashemi S.N, Ghafarian-Shirazi HR, Mohamadi A, Zadeh-Bagheri Gh, Noorian K, Malekzadeh M

Received 30 June 2011

Accepted for publication 29 August 2011

Published 27 January 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 1—6

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CPAA.S23831

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4


Video abstract presented by Dr S N Hashemi

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SN Hashemi1, HR Ghafarian Shirazi2,3, A Mohamadi4, GH Zadeh-Bagheri5, KH Noorian5, M Malekzadeh2
1
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, 2Research Center of Social Factors Affecting Health, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Yasuj, 3School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, 4Department of Psychiatry, 5School of Medicine, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Yasuj, Iran

Background: Depression is a common psychiatric disorder worldwide, including in Iran, and is estimated to affect 10%–15% of the population. Antidepressant drugs can have multiple side effects, so a good choice of drug is important for successful treatment. This study compared the efficacy of nortriptyline with that of fluoxetine in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder and assessed related factors, including age, gender, and level of education.
Methods: The study was a double-blind, randomized clinical trial with a six-month follow-up period. Participants were 120 patients aged 15–60 years with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder based on a psychiatry interview and the Beck depression rating scale, which were performed at the beginning, middle, and end of the study. The patients were treated with nortriptyline or fluoxetine. The paired t-test, independent t-test, and the k chi-square test were used to analyze the data.
Results: Twenty-three patients dropped out and 97 remained in the trial. Before intervention, the mean depression score was 32.85 ± 6.23 in the nortriptyline group and 33.12 ± 6.50 in the fluoxetine group. The results of the independent t-test showed a significant difference between depression score means before and after treatment in both groups. Changes at the end of the trial compared with baseline scores were 13.4 ± 4.68 and 16.96 ± 4.96 for nortriptyline and fluoxetine, respectively. Paired t-testing showed a significant difference in the mean depression score for both the nortriptyline and fluoxetine groups. Age, gender, and level of education had no significant effects on the outcome of treatment in the two groups.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that both nortriptyline and fluoxetine were effective in the treatment of depression, but that fluoxetine was more effective than nortriptyline after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

Keywords: major depressive disorder, nortriptyline, fluoxetine, treatment

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