Changes in energy during treatment of depression: an analysis of fluoxetine in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000 Dec;20(6):666-72. doi: 10.1097/00004714-200012000-00013.


More than two thirds of patients with depression present with symptoms of fatigue, low energy, and listlessness. Because daytime sedation may be a concern in such patients, a "nonsedating" antidepressant should be considered. The authors examined the effects of fluoxetine on depression-related disturbances in energy. Data from seven double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials in 2,075 patients with major depression were retrospectively analyzed. The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) Retardation factor score (total of items 1, 7, 8, and 14) was used as the primary measure of energy improvement, whereas the HAM-D-17 total score was used to assess changes in overall depression. Elderly patients (aged 60 years and older) were included in the overall group and were also analyzed separately. In addition, a subgroup analysis was performed using the HAM-D Retardation factor score to categorize patients as having low (score < 8) or high (score > or = 8) levels of retardation at baseline. Beginning at week 3, fluoxetine-treated patients experienced statistically significant reductions in their HAM-D Retardation factor score compared with placebo-treated patients. The reductions for the elderly subgroup were less than those for the overall population, but they were still statistically significant beginning at week 4. Patients in both the low and high baseline retardation groups improved significantly. HAM-D-17 total scores for fluoxetine-treated patients in all groups (total, elderly, high retardation, and low retardation) improved significantly compared with placebo-treated patients. These findings demonstrate that fluoxetine-treated patients experience an improvement in energy symptoms as their overall depression improves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine