Chromium potentiation of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder in 5 patients

J Clin Psychiatry. 1999 Apr;60(4):237-40. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v60n0406.


Background: Dysthymic disorder is a relatively common illness that is often treated with antidepressants. Compared with the study of major depression, there has been little systematic study of potentiation strategies for antidepressant-refractory dysthymic disorder.

Method: Following a patient's report of dramatic response to the addition of chromium supplementation to sertraline pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder (DSM-IV), the authors initiated a series of single-blind and open-label trials of chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate in the treatment of antidepressant-refractory dysthymic disorder.

Results: In a series of 5 patients, chromium supplementation led to remission of dysthymic symptoms. Single-blind substitution of other dietary supplements in each of the patients demonstrated specificity of response to chromium supplementation.

Conclusion: Preliminary observations suggest that chromium may potentiate antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder. Controlled studies are indicated to test the validity of these initial observations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Chromium / pharmacology
  • Chromium / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Dysthymic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Dysthymic Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Picolinic Acids / pharmacology
  • Picolinic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Sertraline / pharmacology
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Picolinic Acids
  • Chromium
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Sertraline
  • picolinic acid