Amisulpride, a selective antagonist of D2 and D3 dopamine receptors, acts preferentially on presynaptic receptors increasing dopaminergic transmission at low doses. In a multicentre, 6 months, placebo-controlled trial, amisulpride (50 mg/daily) was compared to imipramine (100 mg/daily) in the treatment of patients with DSM-III-R criteria for primary dysthymia, dysthymia with major depression or major depression in partial remission. A total of 219 patients were included. Both analyses (intention-to-treat and "per protocol' analysis) detected significant differences between groups (active treatment vs. placebo) on all main rating scales (CGI, MADRS, ERD, and SANS). The number of patients reporting at least one adverse event was higher in the imipramine group than in the two other, mainly due to anticholinergic effects. Endocrine symptoms were more frequent in female patients treated with amisulpride. These results confirm the interest of a drug acting on dopaminergic transmission such as amisulpride in the treatment of depressed patients.