A drug utilization review of prescribing patterns for trazodone versus amitriptyline

S. G. Bryant, J. A. Hokanson, Candace Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The second-generation antidepressant trazodone has been thought by some clinicians to exert a less robust antidepressant effect than do tricyclic agents. This impression differs from the findings of numerous published clinical trials. In an effort to determine whether this discrepancy may be due to possible inappropriate dosing or use of trazodone for different patient subtypes, a retrospective chart review of 138 depressed inpatients treated with amitriptyline and of 42 depressed inpatients treated with trazodone was performed to compare their respective prescribing patterns. While these two groups did not differ with regard to most demographic variables, results revealed that patients prescribed trazodone were older (trazodone, mean±SD age=54.5±8.8 years versus amitriptyline, 43.2±12.9 years; p < .001), more often had a recurrent depressive disorder (trazodone=57.1%, amitriptyline=39.1%; p < .06), and more frequently had a history of unresponsiveness to other antidepressants (trazodone=47.6%, amitriptyline=11.6%; p < .001). In addition, initially prescribed daily doses of trazodone were below the recommended starting dose of 150 mg/day (mean±SD starting dose=113.7±42.1 mg/day), while starting daily doses for amitriptyline (mean±SD=69.8±20.1 mg/day) were judged to be more adequate relative to the recommended daily dose of 75 mg/day. Final trazodone dosage (mean±SD final dose=217.9±87.5 mg/day) could be judged to have been far short of optimal levels of 250 to 350 mg/day and of up to 600 mg/day for inpatients and 400 mg/day for outpatients. The clinical impression that trazodone is a less effective antidepressant may exist because it is frequently underdosed to a considerable degree and is used to treat refractory depressed patients who are less likely to respond to any antidepressant drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-29
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume51
Issue number9 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

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Drug Utilization Review
Trazodone
Amitriptyline
Antidepressive Agents
Inpatients
Depressive Disorder
Outpatients

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

A drug utilization review of prescribing patterns for trazodone versus amitriptyline. / Bryant, S. G.; Hokanson, J. A.; Brown, Candace.

In: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 51, No. 9 SUPPL., 01.01.1990, p. 27-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "The second-generation antidepressant trazodone has been thought by some clinicians to exert a less robust antidepressant effect than do tricyclic agents. This impression differs from the findings of numerous published clinical trials. In an effort to determine whether this discrepancy may be due to possible inappropriate dosing or use of trazodone for different patient subtypes, a retrospective chart review of 138 depressed inpatients treated with amitriptyline and of 42 depressed inpatients treated with trazodone was performed to compare their respective prescribing patterns. While these two groups did not differ with regard to most demographic variables, results revealed that patients prescribed trazodone were older (trazodone, mean±SD age=54.5±8.8 years versus amitriptyline, 43.2±12.9 years; p < .001), more often had a recurrent depressive disorder (trazodone=57.1{\%}, amitriptyline=39.1{\%}; p < .06), and more frequently had a history of unresponsiveness to other antidepressants (trazodone=47.6{\%}, amitriptyline=11.6{\%}; p < .001). In addition, initially prescribed daily doses of trazodone were below the recommended starting dose of 150 mg/day (mean±SD starting dose=113.7±42.1 mg/day), while starting daily doses for amitriptyline (mean±SD=69.8±20.1 mg/day) were judged to be more adequate relative to the recommended daily dose of 75 mg/day. Final trazodone dosage (mean±SD final dose=217.9±87.5 mg/day) could be judged to have been far short of optimal levels of 250 to 350 mg/day and of up to 600 mg/day for inpatients and 400 mg/day for outpatients. The clinical impression that trazodone is a less effective antidepressant may exist because it is frequently underdosed to a considerable degree and is used to treat refractory depressed patients who are less likely to respond to any antidepressant drug.",
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