Speed of Improvement in Symptoms of Depression With Desvenlafaxine 50 mg and 100 mg Compared With Placebo in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder

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This post hoc analysis examined the time point at which clinically significant improvement in major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms occurs with desvenlafaxine versus placebo.


Data were pooled from 9 short-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in adults with MDD randomly assigned to desvenlafaxine 50 mg/d, 100 mg/d, or placebo. A mixed-effects model for repeated-measures analysis of change from baseline score was used to determine the time point at which desvenlafaxine treatment groups separated from placebo on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and psychosocial outcomes. The association between early improvement and week 8 outcomes was examined using logistic regression analyses. Time to remission for patients with early improvement versus without early improvement was assessed using Kaplan-Meier techniques. Comparisons between groups were performed with log-rank tests.


In the intent-to-treat population (N = 4279 patients: desvenlafaxine 50 mg/d, n = 1714; desvenlafaxine 100 mg/d, n = 870; placebo, n = 1695), a statistically significant improvement on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression was observed with desvenlafaxine 50 mg/d at week 1 (P = 0.0129) and with desvenlafaxine 100 mg/d at week 2 (P = 0.0002) versus placebo. Early improvement was a significant predictor of later remission. Treatment assignment, baseline depression scale scores, and race were significantly associated with probability of early improvement. On several measures of depressive symptoms and function, desvenlafaxine 50 mg/d and 100 mg/d separated from placebo as early as week 1 and no later than week 4 in patients with MDD.


These findings suggest that clinicians may be able to use depression rating scale scores early in treatment as a guide to inform treatment optimization.

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