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Article
March 1, 1958

CHEMOTHERAPY OF DEPRESSION: USE OF MEPROBAMATE COMBINED WITH BENACTYZINE (2-DIETHYLAMINOETHYL BENZILATE) HYDROCHLORIDE

Author Affiliations

Boston

Director, Neurobiologic Unit, Division of Psychiatric Research, Boston State Hospital; Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Tufts University Medical School.

JAMA. 1958;166(9):1019-1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990090027006
Abstract

Depression, defined as a state of sadness, with self-reproaches, psychomotor inhibition, sleep disturbance, and impaired appetite, was treated in 35 consecutive patients by the simultaneous use of meprobamate and benactyzine hydrochloride. The meprobamate was given initially in doses of 400 mg. four times daily and, when necessary, gradually increased to 1,200 mg. four times daily; its purpose was to relax and reduce excitability without exerting a significant inhibitory effect. The benactyzine was given initially in doses of 1 mg. four times daily and, when necessary, gradually increased to 3 mg. four times daily; it is a mild anti-depressant particularly effective in relieving the ruminative obsessive aspects of the depressive mood. Close supervision extending over the entire 24-hour span of each day had to be assured because of the risk of suicide. The usual supportive psychotherapy was given concurrently. Three case histories illustrate the procedure. The average duration of treatment was eight weeks, and 20 patients (57%) made a complete and/or social recovery. This is higher than the rate of spontaneous recovery under comparable conditions. It is not as high as the rate of recoveries obtained by electroshock therapy. This treatment is therefore recommended as an initial step in the treatment of depressions, designed to reduce the number of patients requiring electroshock therapy.

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