Pindolol and mianserin augment the antidepressant activity of fluoxetine in hospitalized major depressed patients, including those with treatment resistance

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1999 Apr;19(2):177-82. doi: 10.1097/00004714-199904000-00014.


The aims of this study were to examine whether pindolol, a serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT])-1A receptor antagonist, and mianserin, a 5-HT2A/C and alpha2-adrenoceptor (alpha2-AR) antagonist, may augment the clinical efficacy of fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and shorten the latency of onset of antidepressive activity in the treatment of major and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Ten days after admission to the hospital, 31 major depressed patients were randomly assigned using a double-blind, controlled design to receive fluoxetine 20 mg daily, fluoxetine 20 mg daily plus pindolol 7.5 mg daily, or fluoxetine 20 mg plus mianserin 30 mg daily for 5 weeks. The 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) score was the primary outcome measure. Analysis of efficacy was conducted according to the intent-to-treat analysis principle considering the change from baseline to endpoint. It was found that fluoxetine plus pindolol and fluoxetine plus mianserin were significantly more effective than fluoxetine alone. Using an outcome measure of 50% reduction in the HAM-D, a 60% response rate was found in patients treated with either fluoxetine plus pindolol or fluoxetine plus mianserin compared with a 9% response rate in patients treated with fluoxetine alone. The HAM-D score 1 week after starting fluoxetine plus mianserin decreased more than 4 points and was significantly greater than that obtained by fluoxetine alone. The results suggest that pindolol and mianserin augment the efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of TRD and that mianserin, but not pindolol, may significantly shorten the latency of onset of antidepressive action when combined with fluoxetine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mianserin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pindolol / therapeutic use*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Fluoxetine
  • Mianserin
  • Pindolol