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Venlafaxine Outperforms Fluoxetine for Postmenopausal Depression

May 20, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—Venlafaxine outperformed fluoxetine for the treatment of major depression in postmenopausal women, in a study presented during a poster session at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

“In addition, for postmenopausal women, improvement in anxiety symptoms was significant[ly] greater with venlafaxine than with fluoxetine,” wrote poster presenter Jingjing Z.

The single-blind trial randomized 172 postmenopausal women with major depressive disorder to flexible doses of either venlafaxine (75-300 mg/day) or fluoxetine (20-60 mg/day) over 8 weeks. Eighty-two women received venlafaxine, and 90 received fluoxetine.

While both treatment groups showed significant improvement in depression scores on the 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), women who received venlafaxine showed significantly greater improvement than women who received fluoxetine, according to the poster abstract. By week 8, anxiety/somatization scores on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale, as well as depression response and remission rates per the HAM-D, were also better in the venlafaxine group.

Both venlafaxine and fluoxetine were generally safe and well tolerated, according to the poster, with the most frequent adverse events with both treatments consisting of nausea, somnolence, dizziness, headache, and dry mouth.

“Venlafaxine was statistically significantly superior to fluoxetine in the treatment of postmenopausal major depression,” the researcher concluded.

—Jolynn Tumolo


“Venlafaxine versus fluoxetine in postmenopausal women with major depressive disorder: results from an 8-week, randomized, active-controlled study.” Abstract presented at: the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 20, 2019; San Francisco, CA.

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