Nefazodone Treatment of Major Depression in Alcohol-Dependent Patients: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States
Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.24). 05/2000; 20(2):129-36. DOI: 10.1097/00004714-200004000-00003
Source: PubMed


Depression is the most common comorbid psychiatric illness in patients with alcohol dependence. This double-blind study tested the efficacy of nefazodone versus placebo for the treatment of depression in actively drinking alcohol-dependent patients who were also participating in weekly group treatment for alcoholism. Sixty-four subjects with major depression disorder and alcohol dependence with a history of at least one prior episode of depression when not drinking were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of either nefazodone or placebo and participated in a weekly psychoeducational group on alcoholism. Subjects were assessed every 2 weeks for depression, anxiety, side effects, and drinking frequency. Subjects taking nefazodone were significantly more likely to complete the study (62%) than those taking placebo (34%). Analyses of covariance using drinks per week as a time-dependent covariate showed lower Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores at week 8 for end-point analysis and at weeks 8 and 12 for completers. The endpoint analysis demonstrated a significantly greater response in the nefazodone group (48%) than in the placebo group (16%). Both groups showed a similarly significant decrease in the average number of alcoholic drinks consumed per day over the course of the study. Although the number of adverse effects was significantly greater for the nefazodone group, there were no severe adverse events, and nefazodone was well tolerated. Nefazodone is a safe and effective antidepressant to use in a population of alcohol-dependent patients with depression who have a high degree of comorbidity. Nefazodone treatment was superior to placebo in alleviating depression in these patients but did not add any advantage over the psychoeducational group in terms of drinking outcomes.

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    • "The mean daily dose for this study was 460 mg/d. They found that depressive symptoms were reduced, but there were no reductions in drinking with nefazodone compared with placebo [117]. Hernandez-Avila et al (2004) gave up to 600 mg/d of nefazodone to 41 primary depressed alcoholics for 10 weeks. "
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    ABSTRACT: Among the numerous forms of comorbid mental health and substance use disorders, co-morbidity between alcohol use disorders (AUD) and depression has received considerable attention. AUDs and depression co-occur at levels greater than expected by chance in clinical and epidemiological samples. Studies suggest that about 80% of patients with AUD experience depressive symptoms at some stage in their lives including 30% or more who describe significant depression which lasts for weeks and which meets criteria for a major depressive episode. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain why the two disorders co-occur in individuals at higher than expected rates. There is also emerging evidence to suggest that pharmacological treatment of depressive symptomatology as an adjunct to treatment for alcohol dependence may be effective not only in treating depression but also in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol related harm. This review explores the literature on the epidemiology, etiology and management of depression and co-morbid AUD. It also identifies the areas for further research.
    Current Psychiatry Reviews 11/2013; 9(4):271-283. DOI:10.2174/15734005113096660005
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    • "A recent meta-analysis by Nunes and Levin (2004) found that antidepressants were effective for depressive symptoms among patients with alcohol dependence. Some authors reported a correlation between reduction in depressive symptoms and alcohol consumption during the antidepressant medication treatment (Cornelius et al., 1997; Mason et al., 1996; Moak et al., 2003), however some of them did not support this observation (Roy-Byrne et al., 2000). "
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    • "5-hydroxytryptamine-2 receptor, decreased depression but not drinking in outpatient subjects (Roy-Byrne et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article represents the proceedings of a symposium at the 2003 annual meeting RSA in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It was organized and cochaired by Charlene E. Le Fauve and Carrie L. Randall. The presentations were (1) Introduction, by Charlene E. Le Fauve and Raye Z. Litten; (2) Treatment of co-occurring alcohol use and anxiety disorders, by Carrie L. Randall and Sarah W. Book; (3) Pharmacological treatment of alcohol dependent patients with comorbid depression, by Darlene H. Moak; (4) Efficacy of valproate in bipolar alcoholics: a double blind, placebo-controlled study, by Ihsan M. Salloum, Jack R. Cornelius, Dennis C. Daley, Levent Kirisci, Johnathan Himmelhoch, and Michael E. Thase; (5) Alcoholism and schizophrenia: effects of antipsychotics, by Alan I. Green, Robert E. Drake, Suzannah V. Zimmet, Rael D. Strous, Melinda Salomon, and Mark Brenner; and (6) Conclusions, by Charlene E. Le Fauve; discussant, Raye Z. Litten. Alcohol-dependent individuals have exceptionally high rates of co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Although this population is more likely to seek alcoholism treatment than noncomorbid alcoholics, the prognosis for treatment is often poor, particularly among patients with more severe psychiatric illnesses. Development of effective interventions to treat this population is in the early stages of research. Although the interaction between the psychiatric condition and alcoholism is complex, progress has been made. The NIAAA has supported a number of state-of-the-art pharmacological and behavioral trials in a variety of comorbid psychiatric disorders. Some of these trials have been completed and are presented here. The symposium presented some new research findings from clinical studies with the aim of facilitating the development of treatments that improve alcohol and psychiatric outcomes among individuals with alcohol-use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. The panel focused on social anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
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