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Efficacy of paroxetine in treating major depressive disorder in persons with multiple sclerosis


Ehde DM, Kraft GH, Chwastiak L, Sullivan MD, Gibbons LE, Bombardier CH, Wadhwani R



Publication Info:

General Hospital Psychiatry, 30(1):40-8


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of paroxetine in treating major depressive disorder (MDD) in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).
METHOD: In this double-blind trial, 42 participants with MS and MDD were randomly assigned to one of two parallel 12-week treatment arms: paroxetine or placebo. The participants started at an initial dose of 10 mg/day paroxetine or placebo, titrated up to 40 mg daily based on symptoms response and side effects. The primary outcome measure was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Secondary outcomes included fatigue, anxiety and self-reported quality of life.
RESULTS: Intent-to-treat analyses revealed that both groups improved from pretreatment to posttreatment. Although the treatment group improved more than the control group on most measures, few differences were statistically significant. For the primary outcome, 57.1% of participants in the treatment arm had at least a 50% reduction in HAM-D score, compared with 40% in the control group (nonsignificant). Treatment effects were greater among the participants who completed the study; 78.6% of completers had a treatment response compared with 42.1% of controls (P=.073).
CONCLUSION: Although paroxetine may not be efficacious for all persons with MS and MDD, it appears to benefit some individuals.

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