Antidepressant pharmacotherapy of depression associated with multiple sclerosis

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Nov;147(11):1493-7. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.11.1493.


In a double-blind clinical trial involving 28 patients with multiple sclerosis and major depressive disorder, 14 patients were randomly assigned to a 5-week trial of desipramine and individual psychotherapy and 14 to placebo plus psychotherapy. Clinical judgments indicated that patients treated with desipramine improved significantly more than the placebo group. This was confirmed by scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression but not by Beck Depression Inventory scores. Side effects limited desipramine dosage in half of the treated patients. The authors conclude that desipramine has a modest beneficial effect in serious depression associated with multiple sclerosis but that side effects may be more of a limiting factor than in patients without medical or neurologic disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Desipramine / adverse effects
  • Desipramine / blood
  • Desipramine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Personality Inventory
  • Placebos
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy


  • Placebos
  • Desipramine