Normalisation of the dexamethasone suppression test: a correlate of clinical improvement in primary depressives

Br J Psychiatry. 1985 Jul:147:30-5. doi: 10.1192/bjp.147.1.30.


Thirty-six patients with a primary depressive illness, admitted consecutively to hospital, were studied. All patients had a pre-treatment DST, followed by weekly DSTs during a six-week treatment period. Three categories of DST response were identified, on the basis of the serial DSTs. All three groups showed improvement with treatment: the two non-suppressor groups showed normalisation of the DST over the treatment period, but only the normalising nonsuppressors showed a significant correlation between DST normalisation and clinical improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder / blood
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Dexamethasone*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors


  • Amitriptyline
  • Dexamethasone
  • Hydrocortisone