Polysomnographic and symptomatological analyses of major depressive disorder patients treated with mirtazapine.

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Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2006 1 51 pages: 27-34

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to characterize the effects of mirtazapine on polysomnographic sleep, especially slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, as well as its effects on clinical symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). METHOD: Sixteen MDD patients were treated with mirtazapine 30 mg taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Polysomnographic and subjective sleep, as well as other clinical data, were collected at baseline and on Days or Nights 2, 9, 16, 30, and 58 during treatment. We used repeated measures analysis of variance, including pairwise comparison, to analyze data statistically. RESULTS: Mirtazapine administration increased total SWS and the SWS in the first sleep cycle, but not SWS in the second sleep cycle. The medication increased REM latency and the duration of the first REM episode; it also decreased the number of REM episodes. Simultaneously, mirtazapine significantly reduced wake-after-sleep onset and scores on the Athens Insomnia Scale. After patients took the medication, scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 (HDRS-17) decreased rapidly and continuously. The changes on the Beck Depression Inventory-II were consistent with those on the HDRS-17. The medication has a tendency to increase weight. CONCLUSIONS: Mirtazapine significantly improved sleep quality, reversed sleep markers of depression, and reduced depressive symptoms in this group of MDD patients.
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