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Little is known about the relationship between psychomotor disturbance (PMD) and treatment outcome of psychotic depression. This study examined the association between PMD and subsequent remission and relapse of treated psychotic depression.
Two hundred and sixty-nine men and women aged 18–85 years with an episode of psychotic depression were treated with open-label sertraline plus olanzapine for up to 12 weeks. Participants who remained in remission or near-remission following an 8-week stabilization phase were eligible to participate in a 36-week randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compared the efficacy and tolerability of sertraline plus olanzapine (n = 64) with sertraline plus placebo (n = 62). PMD was measured with the psychiatrist-rated sign-based CORE at acute phase baseline and at RCT baseline. Spearman's correlations and logistic regression analyses were used to analyze the association between CORE total score at acute phase baseline and remission/near-remission and CORE total score at RCT baseline and relapse.
Higher CORE total score at acute phase baseline was associated with lower frequency of remission/near-remission. Higher CORE total score at RCT baseline was associated with higher frequency of relapse, in the RCT sample as a whole, as well as in each of the two randomized groups.
PMD is associated with poorer outcome of psychotic depression treated with sertraline plus olanzapine. Future research needs to examine the neurobiology of PMD in psychotic depression in relation to treatment outcome.