Risperidone versus haloperidol and amitriptyline in the treatment of patients with a combined psychotic and depressive syndrome

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1998 Apr;18(2):111-20. doi: 10.1097/00004714-199804000-00003.


In a multicenter, double-blind, parallel group trial, the efficacy of risperidone (RIS) was compared with a combination of haloperidol and amitriptyline (HAL/AMI) over 6 weeks in patients with coexisting psychotic and depressive symptoms with either a schizoaffective disorder, depressive type, a major depression with psychotic features, or a nonresidual schizophrenia with major depressive symptoms according to DSM-III-R criteria. A total of 123 patients (62 RIS; 61 HAL/AMI) were included; the mean daily dosage at endpoint was 6.9 mg RIS versus 9 mg HAL combined with 180 mg AMI. Efficacy results for those 98 patients (47 RIS; 51 HAL/AMI) who completed at least 3 weeks of double-blind treatment revealed in both treatment groups large reductions in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale-derived Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (RIS 37%; HAL/AMI 51%) and the Bech-Rafaelsen Melancholia Scale total scores (RIS 51%; HAL/AMI 70%). The reductions in the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and the Bech-Rafaelsen Melancholia Scale scores in the total group were significantly larger in the HAL/AMI group than in the RIS group (p < 0.01), mostly because of significant differences in the subgroup of patients suffering from depression with psychotic features, whereas treatment differences in the other diagnostic subgroups were not significant. The incidence of extrapyramidal side effects as assessed by the Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale was slightly higher under RIS (37%) than under HAL/AMI (31%). Adverse events were reported by 66% of RIS and 75% of HAL/AMI patients. The results of this trial suggest that the therapeutic effect of HAL/AMI is superior to RIS in the total group of patients with combined psychotic and depressive symptoms. However, subgroup differences have to be considered.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amitriptyline / administration & dosage
  • Amitriptyline / adverse effects
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Haloperidol / administration & dosage
  • Haloperidol / adverse effects
  • Haloperidol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risperidone / administration & dosage
  • Risperidone / adverse effects
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Amitriptyline
  • Haloperidol
  • Risperidone