Introduction: Only about a third of patients with an episode of major depressive disorder remit with a given treatment and few remissions occur within the first weeks of treatment. This study tested whether combining escitalopram and bupropion as initial treatment would result in quicker remission and a higher remission rate than monotherapy with either drug.
Method: Two hundred forty-five outpatients aged 18-65 having non-psychotic, non-bipolar major depression were randomly assigned to double-blind treatment with bupropion or escitalopram or the combination dosed to a maximum of bupropion 450 mg/d and/or escitalopram 40 mg/d for 12 weeks. A Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale score of 22 was required for randomization, while a Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score ≤ 7 defined remission. We hypothesized that bupropion plus escitalopram would outperform both monotherapies in both earlier onset of remission and higher rate of remission.
Results: Primary analyses did not demonstrate that dual therapy outperformed both monotherapies in either timing of remission or remission rate. All three treatments were well tolerated.
Discussion: These results do not support initial use of bupropion plus escitalopram to speed or enhance antidepressant response.
Clinical trials registration: NCT00519428.
Keywords: Bupropion; Combination treatment; Escitalopram; Major depression; Remission.
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