Dextroamphetamine as a treatment for depression and low energy in AIDS patients: a pilot study

J Psychosom Res. 1997 Apr;42(4):407-11. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(96)00366-2.


This report documents findings from an open trial of dextroamphetamine in the treatment of depression and low energy in AIDS patients. Dextroamphetamine offers the potential for rapid onset of effect and activation properties, both of which are important to persons with late stage HIV illness. Primary inclusion criteria included having a DSM-III-R depressive disorder, debilitating low energy, CD4 cell count below 200 cells/mm3, and no history of drug dependence. The trial consisted of open treatment in a 6-week protocol, with indefinite follow-up. Twenty-four men entered the study, 18 of 19 (95%) patients who completed at least 6 weeks of treatment reported substantial improvement with regard to both mood and energy at a median dosage of 10 mg/day. These results suggest that dextroamphetamine is a potentially effective, fast acting antidepressant treatment for this population and call for a larger, controlled trial.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Dextroamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Dextroamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Dextroamphetamine / therapeutic use*
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dextroamphetamine