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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 140194, 8 pages
Clinical Study

The Strategy of Combining Antidepressants in the Treatment of Major Depression: Clinical Experience in Spanish Outpatients

1Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Addictions, Hospital del Mar, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Psychiatry, Hospital General Granollers Benito Menni CASM, 08400 Granollers, Barcelona, Spain
3Statistics and Operation Research Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
4Psychiatry Department, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, 08907 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain

Received 22 January 2011; Revised 3 April 2011; Accepted 14 April 2011

Academic Editor: Verinder Sharma

Copyright © 2011 Luis M. Martín-López et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. The combination of antidepressants is a useful tool in the treatment of major depression, especially in cases where there is a partial response to antidepressant monotherapy. However, the use of this strategy is a matter of controversy, and its frequency of use in clinical practice is not clear. The aim of our study is to assess the use of antidepressants combination in Spain by reviewing three databases used between 1997 and 2001. Methods. Databases pertain to patients who are study subjects of major depression treatment. These databases are a result of studies performed in Spain and in which 550 psychiatrists participated. The total studied sample was comprised of patients, aged over 18, fitting DSM-IV criteria for Major Depressive Episode. The percentage of patients who received more than one antidepressant and the types of combinations used was described. Subsequently, a comparative study between the group which received a combination of antidepressants ( ) and the group which received antidepressant monotherapy ( ) was performed. Results. 27.1% of patients were on antidepressive monotherapy treatment, and 2.2% were on combination therapy. In the comparison of patients on combination therapy and monotherapy, there were significant differences only in episode duration ( ). The most frequent combinations are SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants. The active principle most widely combined is fluoxetine. Conclusions. The prevalence of use of antidepressant combination therapy is 2.2% of the global sample and 8.3% of treated patients. Other than duration of the depressive episode, no clinical characteristics exclusive to patients who received combination rather than monotherapy were found. Our study found that the most frequent combination is SSRIs + TCAs, also being the most studied.