Pharmacotherapy of Hispanic depressed patients: clinical observations

Am J Psychother. 1982 Oct;36(4):505-12. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1982.36.4.505.


Based on the observation that Hispanic depressed patients appear to receive lower dosages of antidepressants, the clinical records of 41 Hispanic and 21 Anglo, female outpatients receiving antidepressants were compared. All the patients had been diagnosed by two psychiatrists as suffering from a major depressive episode according to the DSM III criteria. The records showed that the Anglo patients received about double the dosage of antidepressants given to the Hispanic patients. The Hispanic patients complained more about side effects, but the treatment outcome was comparable in both groups. Apart from pharmacokinetic factors, the authors suggest that these clinical observations may be due to the fact that Hispanic depressed patients express depression in terms of somatic symptoms which are often similar to the side effects produced by antidepressants. Clinicians ought to familiarize themselves with the psychological, sociocultural, and biologic characteristics of the patient, and should approach the chemotherapy in a differential manner. Controlled prospective studies should be designed to test the hypotheses generated by this study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic