Background: This analysis evaluated the effects of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, desvenlafaxine (administered as desvenlafaxine succinate), on anxiety symptoms associated with depression.
Methods: Data were pooled from 9 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 8 week studies of desvenlafaxine (50-400 mg/day, fixed or flexible dose) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), without a primary anxiety diagnosis. Changes from baseline in scores on the anxiety/somatization factor of the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17) and on the Covi Anxiety Scale at the final evaluation (last observation carried forward) were compared between desvenlafaxine and placebo groups using analysis of covariance.
Results: In the overall data set (intent to treat n=2,913 [desvenlafaxine, n=1,805; placebo, n=1,108]), desvenlafaxine was associated with significantly greater reductions compared with placebo in scores on the HAM-D17 anxiety/somatization factor (-3.41 vs -2.92, P<.001) and Covi Anxiety Scale (-1.35 vs -1.04, P<.001). In the subset of fixed-dose studies, significant differences were observed for all dose groups on the HAM-D17 anxiety/somatization factor (P≤.OH), and for the 50, 100, and 200 mg/day dose groups on the Covi Anxiety Scale (all P≤.015 vs placebo).
Conclusions: Desvenlafaxine was associated with significantly greater improvement in anxiety symptoms compared with placebo in patients with MDD.