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Two combined, multicenter double-blind studies of paroxetine and doxepin in geriatric patients with major depression.

Author(s): Dunner DL, Cohn JB, Walshe T 3rd, Cohn CK, Feighner JP, Fieve RR, Halikas JP, Hartford JT, Hearst ED, Settle EC Jr

Affiliation(s): University of Washington, Seattle 98105.

Publication date & source: 1992-02, J Clin Psychiatry., 53 Suppl:57-60.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Comparative Study ; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

Depressive illness among the elderly is an important public health concern. However, treatment of the elderly may be complicated by age-related changes in physiology, general medical status, and susceptibility to side effects. There is therefore a need for improved treatment modalities for depressed elderly patients. Paroxetine is an antidepressant that acts through selective inhibition of serotonin reuptake. It lacks the anticholinergic and cardiovascular side effects of most first- and second-generation antidepressants. The authors present the combined data from two similarly designed comparisons of paroxetine and doxepin in outpatients over 60 years of age with major depression. The results show that paroxetine was an effective as doxepin in alleviating depression as measured on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) total score, the Montgomery and Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL) depression factor score. Paroxetine was significantly superior to doxepin on the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale for severity of illness, the HAM-D retardation factor, and the HAM-D depressed mood item. Doxepin produced significantly more anticholinergic effects, sedation, and confusion. Paroxetine was associated with more reports of nausea and headache. These results suggest that paroxetine may be a valuable tool for the treatment of major depression in the elderly.

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