Clinical efficacy of reboxetine in major depression

J Clin Psychiatry. 2000:61 Suppl 10:31-8.


The past decade has witnessed the advent of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as first-line treatments for major depression. Still, there is considerable debate as to whether these agents are as effective or as potent as the first-generation tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or the mixed reuptake inhibitor, venlafaxine, all of which exert considerable effect on norepinephrine (NE) reuptake. Recently, reboxetine, a selective NE reuptake inhibitor (selective NRI), has been introduced in Europe. This drug has only a minimal affinity for muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and therefore causes less dry mouth, constipation, or other such effects than do the TCAs. Reboxetine does not block serotonin reuptake or alpha1 receptors and, thus, does not appear to produce significant nausea, diarrhea, or hypotension. Unlike other antidepressants, reboxetine appears to be nonsedating. Data on acute and long-term clinical efficacy and safety from double-blind, placebo-controlled, and active comparator studies with reboxetine are reviewed. These studies indicate that reboxetine is significantly more effective than placebo and as effective as fluoxetine in reducing depressive symptoms. Improvements in social adjustments were reported to be more favorable with reboxetine than with fluoxetine. Further, data from controlled clinical trials have shown that the side effect profile for reboxetine is relatively benign. The clinical implications of studies on reboxetine are discussed with an eye toward understanding the potential role NE reuptake blockers may play in the treatment of patients with major depression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Morpholines / adverse effects
  • Morpholines / therapeutic use*
  • Norepinephrine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Panic Disorder / drug therapy
  • Placebos
  • Reboxetine
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Morpholines
  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Reboxetine
  • Imipramine
  • Norepinephrine