Background: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) have demonstrated consistent efficacy in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), while agents that are primarily norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors have not. Comparable efficacy has been demonstrated for SRI and non-SRI antidepressants in uncomplicated major depressive disorder (MDD). This multicenter trial is the first comparison of an SRI (sertraline) and a non-SRI antidepressant (desipramine) in the treatment of OCD with concurrent MDD. Methods: One hundred sixty-six patients diagnosed using structured clinical interviews and recruited from 16 treatment sites were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with either sertraline (up to 200 mg/d) or desipramine (up to 300 mg/d) over 12 weeks. Measures of severity of OCD and MDD symptoms, as well as adverse effects of the medications, were monitored over the course of the treatment period. Results: Patients assigned to sertraline responded significantly better at end point on measures of OCD and MDD symptoms compared with patients assigned to desipramine. Sertraline was also associated with a significantly greater number of patients who achieved a 'robust' improvement in OCD symptoms (≥40% reduction) compared with desipramine. More patients receiving desipramine than sertraline discontinued treatment because of adverse events. Conclusions: The SRI sertraline was more effective in reducing MDD and OCD symptoms than the primarily norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor desipramine for patients with concurrent OCD and MDD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health