Minor depressive disorder and subsyndromal depressive symptoms: functional impairment and response to treatment

J Affect Disord. 1998 Mar;48(2-3):227-32. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(97)00196-1.


Background: This study quantifies functional impairment and depressive symptomatology in patients with minor depressive disorder (MinD) and subsyndromal depressive symptomatology (SSD) before and after 8 weeks of treatment with fluvoxamine. Study patients were compared and contrasted with archival data from a sample of the general population measured by the Medical Outcome Survey Short Form 36.

Method: Fifteen patients with MinD and 15 patients with SSD were identified from primary care clinics, referrals and newspaper advertisements. Patients signed informed consent and were offered open label treatment with fluvoxamine 25-100 mg/day. Patients were seen biweekly and measures of functional impairment and depressive symptomatology were gathered systematically.

Results: MinD and SSD were associated with dysfunction and disability when compared to archival normative data from the general population. Eight week treatment with fluvoxamine was associated with a substantial decrease in depressive symptomatology and a normalization of psychosocial functioning.

Conclusion: This is the first study to quantify functional impairment and the severity of depressive symptomatology in a clinical sample of patients with MinD and SSD, and to demonstrate that treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor decreases depressive symptomatology and improves psychosocial functioning. Placebo-controlled double-blind confirmation of these preliminary observations seems warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fluvoxamine / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Adjustment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluvoxamine