Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: Dr Keller and colleagues1 report marked differences between continuing and
discontinuing previously successful treatment with sertraline hydrochloride
in patients with chronic depression. New episodes occurred in 10% of patients
continuing sertraline (146 mg/d) for up to 18 months vs 30% after discontinuing
sertraline and changing to placebo (over a period of 2.9 weeks), with new
symptoms developing in 45% vs 72%, respectively. These differences (20%-27%)
indicate a moderate sparing of relapse. It is remarkable that so many formerly
long-term ill patients did so well after switching to placebo, but some may
represent previously undertreated but reversible disorders.
Baldessarini RJ, Viguera AC. Relapse of Depressive Symptoms After Discontinuing Sertraline. JAMA. 1999;282(4):323–324. doi:10.1001/jama.282.4.323
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