In a randomized 6-week trial comparing fluoxetine with placebo, the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Status Survey (SF-36) scales were used to measure the effects of treatment on functional health and well-being among elderly (age ≥ 60 years) outpatients with major depression. In the fluoxetine and placebo groups, 261 and 271 patients, respectively, completed the SF-36 before treatment and at Weeks 3 and 6. Compared with national norms for individuals over age 60, study patients before treatment exhibited baseline decrements on the following SF-36 scales: mental health, role limitations due to emotional problems, social functioning, vitality, role limitations due to physical problems, and bodily pain. Analyses of SF-36 changed scores from baseline to Week 6 revealed that the fluoxetine group improved more than the placebo group across all scales. Differences in changes of scores between groups were significant (p < .05), favoring the fluoxetine group for the scales of mental health, role limitations due to emotional problems, physical functioning, and bodily pain. Improvements observed in the fluoxetine group were both clinically and socially significant.