Comparison of reboxetine and sertraline in terms of efficacy
and safety in major depressive disorder

Eker SS, Akkaya C, Akgoz S, Sarandol A, Kirli S.
Uludag U Tip Fak., Bursa.
Turk Psikiyatri Derg. 2005 Fall;16(3):153-63


OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy, safety and tolerability of reboxetine and sertraline in major depressive disorder (MDD). METHOD: The study subjects consisted of 41 patients who met the DSM-IV MDD diagnostic criteria. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either reboxetine or sertraline. During the study the patients were assessed 6 times (baseline visit=day 0, visit 1=day 8, visit 2=day 22, visit 3=day 36, visit 4=day 57 and visit 5=day 78) over 11 weeks. Antidepressant response was measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness (CGI-SI) and Global Impressions-Global Improvement (CGI-GI). RESULTS: Comparing the two groups in terms of response and remission (HAM-D< or =10) measures, the results were in favour of the reboxetine group at visits 2, 3 and 4. At visit 5, the scores were similar and no statistically significant difference was found between the two groups. However, when remission was evaluated as HAM-D< or =7, a significant statistical difference was found in favour of the reboxetine group. Evaluating the side effects, dry mouth, sweating, palpitation, headache, hot flushing and sedation were more frequent in the reboxetine group. Only one patient, in the reboxetine group, dropped out due to a side effect (constipation). CONCLUSION: Higher rates of full remission achievement, which is the main target of MDD treatment, in the reboxetine group compared with the sertraline group may be due to the suppression of anxiety symptoms by the noradrenergic feature of the drug. In order to understand the role of the noradrenergic system in treating MDD, larger patient samples are needed. Both reboxetine and sertraline were well tolerated and effective in treating MDD.

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