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February 1994

Maintenance Imipramine Therapy for Secondary Depression in SchizophreniaA Controlled Trial

Author Affiliations

From the Hillside Hospital Division of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Long Island Campus for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Glen Oaks, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(2):109-115. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950020033003

Background:  Although recent studies have documented the benefit of adjunctive antidepressant medication for the short-term treatment of certain patients with operationally defined syndromes of postpsychotic depression, the value of maintenance adjunctive antidepressant treatment in this circumstance has not been properly established.

Methods:  This study examined 24 schizophrenic or Schizoaffective patients with postpsychotic depression or negative symptoms. These patients had all been benefited over the short term by the addition of adjunctive imipramine hydrochloride to their ongoing fluphenazine decanoate/benztropine mesylate regimens, and this adjunctive treatment had been successfully continued for 6 months. In a randomized double-blind protocol, treatment with adjunctive imipramine hydrochloride (mean, 233 ± 72 mg/d) was then either maintained or tapered to placebo for an ensuing 1-year trial, while treatment with fluphenazine and benztropine continued.

Results:  Significantly more patients who received placebo substitution relapsed into depression (P<.001). Patients who received placebo substitution were also more likely to experience relapses into psychosis (P<.02).

Conclusions:  These results support the clinical value of maintenance adjunctive imipramine therapy among initially responsive patients with postpsychotic depressions.