Introduction: This research compares the efficacy and safety of desvenlafaxine (administered as desvenlafaxine succinate) versus placebo in treating major depressive disorder.
Methods: In this randomized, double-blind study, outpatients with major depressive disorder ≥18 years of age received desvenlafaxine 200–400 mg/day or placebo for 8 weeks. Efficacy endpoints included (primary) change in 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score at the final evaluation (last observation carried forward, analysis of covariance) and (secondary) Clinical Global Impressions—Improvement and—Severity of Illness scales.
Results: The difference between desvenlafaxine (n=117) and placebo (n=118) on the primary endpoint was not significant (−9.1 vs −7.5, P=.078). Week 8 observed cases (desvenlafaxine, n=80; placebo, n=94) results were significant (−10.7 vs −7.9, P=.008). Differences at the final evaluation (last observation carried forward) were significant for Clinical Global Impressions—Improvement (2.9 vs 2.5, P=.037) and Clinical Global Impressions—Severity of Illness (−1.9 vs −1.2, P=.041). Discontinuation rates due to adverse events (AEs) were 12% and 3% for desvenlafaxine and placebo, respectively (P=.008). The most frequently reported AE associated with desvenlafaxine was nausea (36% vs 9% [placebo]).
Conclusion: In this study, the primary analysis did not show significant differences between desvenlafaxine and placebo; discontinuations due to AEs associated with the desvenlafaxine dose range may have contributed to the lack of statistical separation.