- Poster presentation
- Open Access
Venlafaxine for the treatment of depressive episode during the course of schizophrenia
© The Author(s) 2003
- Received: 1 November 2003
- Published: 23 December 2003
- Public Health
- Psychotic Symptom
- Depressive Episode
The emergence of depression in the course of schizophrenia is common and arouses much interest and therapeutic concern. It has been associated with a less-favorable prognosis and increased incidence of suicide. However, relatively few treatment studies have been performed in this area. The use of a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotic agents is controversial.
We report an open-label study carried out to evaluate the efficacy of the addition of venlafaxine in schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics and diagnosed with concurrent depressive episode (DSM-IV criteria). Patients (n = 19) who did not show spontaneous improvement after 4 weeks were assigned to a six-week trial with add-on venlafaxine. Patients were evaluated at a one-week interval with the HAM-D, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, and the Clinical Global Impression Scale.
All 19 patients had completed the six week trial.14 patients (74%) showed significant improvement measured with HAM-D and CGI. The mean venlafaxine dose was 146 mg/day (range: 75–300 mg/d). In most patients there was a parallel decrease in psychotic symptoms.
We demonstrate that venlafaxine is effective in the treatment of depression in patients with schizophrenia without causing exacerbation of psychosis.