Depression treatment in patients with general medical conditions: Results from the CO-MED trial

David W. Morris, Nitin Budhwar, Mustafa Husain, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Benji T. Kurian, James F. Luther, Kevin Kerber, A. John Rush, Madhukar H. Trivedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE We studied the effect of 3 antidepressant treatments on outcomes (depressive severity, medication tolerability, and psychosocial functioning) in depressed patients having comorbid general medical conditions in the Combining Medications to Enhance Depression Outcomes (CO-MED) trial. METHODS Adult outpatients who had chronic and/or recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) with and without general medical conditions were randomly assigned in 1:1:1 ratio to 28 weeks of single-blind, placebo-controlled antidepressant treatment with (1) escitalopram plus placebo, (2) bupropion-SR plus escitalopram, or (3) venlafaxine-XR plus mirtazapine. At weeks 12 and 28, we compared response and tolerability between participants with 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more general medical conditions. RESULTS Of the 665 evaluable patients, 49.5% reported having no treated general medical conditions, 23.8% reported having 1, 14.8% reported having 2, and 11.9% reported having at least 3. We found only minimal differences in antidepressant treatment response between these groups having different numbers of conditions; patients with 3 or more conditions reported higher rates of impairment in social and occupational functioning at week 12 but not at week 28. Additionally, we found no signifi cant differences between the 3 antidepressant treatments across these groups. CONCLUSIONS Patients with general medical conditions can be safely and effectively treated for MDD with antidepressants with no additional adverse effect or tolerability burden relative to their counterparts without such conditions. Combination therapy is not associated with an increased treatment response beyond that found with traditional monotherapy in patients with MDD, regardless of the presence and number of general medical conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Antidepressant
  • Comorbidities
  • Depression
  • General medical condition
  • Mental health
  • Mood disorder
  • Practicebased research
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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