An Open Study of Aripiprazole and Escitalopram for Psychotic Major Depressive Disorder

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Objective:This 7-week trial assessed the efficacy and tolerability of aripiprazole combined with escitalopram in the acute treatment of major depressive disorder, with psychotic features (MD-Psy).Methods:Sixteen male and female patients with a Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnosis of MD-Psy were recruited for this study from September 13, 2004 to August 9, 2006. Escitalopram and aripiprazole were flexibly dosed for 7 weeks, with maximum dosages of 20 and 30 mg/d, respectively. The 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D-17) and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV psychosis module were used to measure depression and psychosis responses. The Barnes Akathisia Scale and the Simpson Angus Scale were used to assess for akathisia and extrapyramidal symptoms.Results:Thirteen of the 16 subjects completed the study. The MD-Psy response rate (50% or greater drop in HAM-D-17 and no psychosis) (intent-to-treat, last observation carried forward) was 62.5%, and the MD-Psy remission rate (HAM-D-17, <8, and no psychosis) (intent-to-treat, last observation carried forward) was 50.0%. Ten of the 16 subjects developed akathisia; however, 9 of the 10 subjects had resolution or partial resolution of akathisia with dose adjustment or treatment with propranolol.Conclusions:The combination of escitalopram and aripiprazole seems to be an effective and safe treatment for MD-Psy.

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