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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 627863, 13 pages
Clinical Study

Does Duloxetine Improve Cognitive Function Independently of Its Antidepressant Effect in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Subjective Reports of Cognitive Dysfunction?

Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9119, USA

Received 27 June 2013; Revised 14 October 2013; Accepted 15 October 2013; Published 19 January 2014

Academic Editor: Yvonne Forsell

Copyright © 2014 Tracy L. Greer 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. Cognitive deficits are commonly reported by patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Duloxetine, a dual serotonin/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, may improve cognitive deficits in MDD. It is unclear if cognitive improvements occur independently of antidepressant effects with standard antidepressant medications. Methods. Thirty participants with MDD who endorsed cognitive deficits at screening received 12-week duloxetine treatment. Twenty-one participants completed treatment and baseline and posttreatment cognitive testing. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery was used to assess the following cognitive domains: attention, visual memory, executive function/set shifting and working memory, executive function/spatial planning, decision making and response control, and verbal learning and memory. Results. Completers showed significant cognitive improvements across several domains on tasks assessing psychomotor function and mental processing speed, with additional improvements in visual and verbal learning and memory, and affective decision making and response control. Overall significance tests for executive function tasks were also significant, although individual tasks were not, perhaps due to the small sample size. Most notably, cognitive improvements were observed independently of symptom reduction on all domains except verbal learning and memory. Conclusions. Patients reporting baseline cognitive deficits achieved cognitive improvements with duloxetine treatment, most of which were independent of symptomatic improvement. This trial is registered with NCT00933439.