Remission with venlafaxine extended release or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in depressed patients: A randomized, open-label study

Michael E. Thase, Philip T. Ninan, Jeff J. Musgnung, Madhukar H. Trivedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: This randomized, open-label, rater-blinded, multicenter study compared treatment outcomes with the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine extended release (ER) with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in primary care patients with major depressive disorder. Method: Study data were collected from November 29, 2000, to March 4, 2003. Outpatients who met diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder according to the Mental Health Screener, a computer-administered telephone interview program that screens for the most common mental disorders, and had a total score on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS17) ≥ 20 were randomly assigned to receive up to 6 months of open-label venlafaxine ER 75-225 mg/d (n = 688) or an SSRI (n = 697): fluoxetine 20-80 mg/d, paroxetine 20-50 mg/d, citalopram 20-40 mg/d, and sertraline 50-200 mg/d. The primary outcome was remission (HDRS17 score ≤ 7) at study end point using the last-observation-carried-forward method to account for early termination. A mixed-effects model for repeated measures (MMRM) analysis evaluated secondary outcome measures. Results: Fifty-one percent of patients completed the study. Month 6 remission rates did not differ significantly for venlafaxine ER and the SSRIs (35.5% vs 32.0%, respectively; P =.195). The MMRM analysis of HDRS17 scores also did not differ significantly (P =.0538). Significant treatment effects favoring the venlafaxine ER group were observed for remission rates at days 30, 60, 90, and 135 and a survival analysis of time to remission (P =.006), as well as Clinical Global Impressions-severity of illness scale (P =.0002); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Anxiety subscale (P =.03); 6-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Bech version (P =.009); and Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (P =.0003). Conclusions: Remission rates for patients treated with venlafaxine ER or an SSRI did not differ significantly after 6 months of treatment. Results of most secondary analyses suggested that SNRI treatment had a greater antidepressant effect versus the SSRIs studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e9
JournalPrimary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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