The response of psychotic-like symptoms to fluoxetine monotherapy in non-psychotic major depressive disorder

Nord J Psychiatry. 2009;63(5):420-5. doi: 10.1080/08039480903015396.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of psychotic-like symptoms in non-psychotic major depressive disorder and to monitor the response of these symptoms to monotherapy with fluoxetine.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of 384 subjects (54.7% women; mean age 39.9±10), all outpatients diagnosed with non-psychotic major depressive disorder by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), aged 18-65 years, with an initial 17-item Hamilton Depression (HAM-D-17) score of 16 or greater. Subjects were treated openly with fluoxetine 20 mg/day for 8 weeks. Subjects were administered the SCID-II (Structured Clinical Diagnostic Interview for Personality Disorder) prior to entering acute treatment and at the completion of the acute phase of treatment. We monitored the course of psychotic-like symptoms following this course of therapy.

Results: 187 subjects endorsed at least one psychotic-like symptom, including not trusting close acquaintances (item 51), picking up hidden meanings (item 52), believing that others were talking about them (item 57), magical thinking (item 60) or unusual perceptual experiences (item 62). None of these patients met criteria for delusional depression as defined by the SCID. Overall response rates were 36.4% for patients who endorsed psychotic-like symptoms, and 53.3% for those who did not endorse psychotic-like symptoms (chi-squared = 11.1, P=0.001). The decrease in psychotic-like symptoms during the course of fluoxetine monotherapy was significant (P<0.05) in both responders and non-responders to treatment.

Conclusion: A significant percentage of patients with non-psychotic major depression endorse subtle psychotic-like symptoms, many of which abate during monotherapy with fluoxetine regardless of response of the depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / drug therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine