Efficacy and safety of olanzapine/fluoxetine combination vs fluoxetine monotherapy following successful combination therapy of treatment-resistant major depressive disorder

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Oct;39(11):2549-59. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.101. Epub 2014 May 7.


This study assessed prevention of relapse in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) taking olanzapine/fluoxetine combination (OFC). Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who failed to satisfactorily respond to ≥ 2 different antidepressants for ≥ 6 weeks within the current MDD episode were acutely treated for 6-8 weeks, followed by stabilization (12 weeks) on OFC. Those who remained stable were randomized to OFC or fluoxetine for up to 27 weeks. Time-to-relapse was the primary efficacy outcome defined as 50% increase in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale score with Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Depression score of ≥ 4; hospitalization for depression or suicidality; or discontinuation for lack of efficacy or worsening of depression or suicidality. A total of 444 patients were randomized 1:1 to OFC (N=221) or fluoxetine (N=223). Time-to-relapse was significantly longer in OFC-treated patients compared with fluoxetine-treated patients (p<0.001). Treatment-emergent weight gain and some mean and categorical fasting metabolic changes were significantly greater in OFC-treated patients. Clinically significant weight gain (≥ 7%) was observed in 55.7% of patients who remained on OFC throughout the study, including the relapse-prevention phase (up to 47 weeks). There were no significant differences between patients treated with OFC and fluoxetine in extrapyramidal symptoms or serious adverse events. We believe this is the first controlled relapse-prevention study in subjects with TRD that supports continued use of a second-generation antipsychotic beyond stabilization. A thorough assessment of benefits and risks (in particular metabolic changes) associated with continuing treatment with OFC or fluoxetine must be done based on individual patient needs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / adverse effects
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Secondary Prevention / methods
  • Suicide
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • olanzapine-fluoxetine combination
  • Fluoxetine
  • Benzodiazepines