Is the dexamethasone suppression test predictive of response to specific antidepressant treatment in major depression?

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1987 Aug;76(2):129-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1987.tb02874.x.


The authors attempt to correlate the response to dexamethasone suppression test (DST) with a clinical response to antidepressant drugs in 68 patients with major depression. Antidepressants that influence noradrenergic or serotonergic transmission with relative different potencies were selected and used in standard doses for 6 weeks. The response was evaluated weekly by raters blind to DST results and to antidepressant medications prescribed. The retrospective analysis failed to correlate DST response with outcome of treatment. Therefore the present results suggest that this laboratory test does not help to identify subgroups of depressed patients responding preferentially to various antidepressant drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Clomipramine / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Dexamethasone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maprotiline / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Amitriptyline
  • Maprotiline
  • Dexamethasone
  • Clomipramine