Desvenlafaxine Versus Placebo in a Fluoxetine-Referenced Study of Children and Adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder

Karen L Weihs, William Murphy, Richat Abbas, Deborah Chiles, Richard D. England, Sara Ramaker, Dalia B. Wajsbrot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the short-term efficacy and safety of desvenlafaxine (25-50 mg/d) compared with placebo in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: Outpatient children (7-11 years) and adolescents (12-17 years) who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for MDD and had screening and baseline Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) total scores >40 were randomly assigned to 8-week treatment with placebo, desvenlafaxine (25, 35, or 50 mg/d based on baseline weight), or fluoxetine (20 mg/d). The primary efficacy endpoint was change from baseline in CDRS-R total score at week 8, analyzed using a mixed-effects model for repeated measures. Secondary efficacy endpoints included week 8 Clinical Global Impressions-Severity, Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I), and response (CGI-I ≤ 2). Safety assessments included adverse events, physical and vital sign measurements, laboratory evaluations, electrocardiogram, and the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale. Results: The safety population included 339 patients (children, n = 130; adolescents, n = 209). The primary endpoint, change from baseline in CDRS-R total score at week 8, did not statistically separate from placebo, for either desvenlafaxine (adjusted mean [standard error] change, -22.6 [1.17]) or fluoxetine (-24.8 [1.17]; placebo, -23.1 [1.18]). Week 8 CGI-I response rates were significantly greater for fluoxetine (78.2%; p = 0.017) than for placebo (62.6%); desvenlafaxine (68.7%) did not differ from placebo. Other secondary outcomes were consistent with those obtained with CDRS-R. Rates of treatment-emergent adverse events were comparable among treatment groups (desvenlafaxine, 60.0%; placebo, 70.5%; and fluoxetine, 64.3%). Conclusion: Desvenlafaxine did not demonstrate efficacy for treating MDD in children and adolescents in this trial. Because neither desvenlafaxine nor the reference medication, fluoxetine, demonstrated a statistically significant difference from placebo on the primary endpoint, this was considered a failed trial and no efficacy conclusions can be drawn. Desvenlafaxine 25-50 mg/d was generally safe and well tolerated in children and adolescents in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • children
  • clinical trial
  • desvenlafaxine
  • major depressive disorder
  • treatment efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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