Comparison between Every-Day and Every-3-Days Fluoxetine in Young, Moderately Depressed Out-Patients
A. Shiber, H. Reuveni, A. Elhayany, I.Z. Ben-Zion
Psychiatric Dept., Psychiatric Division, Soroka Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba; and Medical Division for Drug Utilization, Kupat Holim Klalit (Sick Fund)
Fluoxetine is now a well-known and often-used specific serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and antidepressant. It has a very long active half- life, from 2-16 days. Our hypothesis was that sufficient therapeutic effectiveness would be achieved by prescribing the drug less frequently than once a day.
To establish whether there is a difference between fluoxetine given daily or every 3 days, we assigned 25 outpatients with mild to moderate, acute major depressions (DSM-IV) to receive fluoxetine (20 mg), either each day or every 3 days. The study was open-labelled, using for assessment the HAM-D, GHQ-28 side-effect checklist and clinical judgment questionnaires. Follow-up lasted 6 months.
Results indicated no differences in the clinical outcomes, except for slightly fewer side-effects in the study group. Although the open label design limits drawing definitive conclusions, our preliminary results provide more information, and support our hypothesis that low-dosage fluoxetine is beneficial. However, more comprehensive, double-blind studies are necessary to confirm our preliminary results.