Regional origin and decrease of pain in patients with depressive symptoms under treatment with venlafaxine

  • Stefan BegréEmail author
  • Martin Traber
  • Martin Gerber
  • Roland von Känel
Original Paper



Patient’s language, tradition, conventions, and customs may all determine integration into a society and are also part of the doctor–patient relationship that influences diagnostic and therapeutic outcome. Language barrier and sociocultural disparity of Eastern and Southern European patients may hamper recovery from pain and depression compared to Middle European patients in Switzerland.


In a prospective naturalistic observational trial we investigated the influence of regional origin on treatment outcome in 420 pain sufferers with depressive symptoms from all over Switzerland who were treated with venlafaxine by 122 physicians in primary care. Physicians rated severity of depressive symptoms using the clinical global impression severity scale and pain intensity by means of visual analogue scales. We hypothesized that in Eastern and Southern European patients the magnitude of pain reduction under treatment with venlafaxine is less compared to Middle European patients.


Three months after study entry, Middle European patients were found to profit more from treatment with venlafaxine in terms of severity of depression and pain intensity than patients from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe.


Regional origin may contribute to the magnitude of pain reduction in patients with depressive symptoms under treatment with venlafaxine. Our results provide a rational for care provider educational programs aimed at improving capacities in treating patients from different regional origin with psychosomatic complaints such as depression and comorbid pain.


Pain Depression Clinical practice Migration Switzerland 



We are grateful to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals AG, Switzerland for providing its data pool to perform this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Begré
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Traber
    • 2
  • Martin Gerber
    • 3
  • Roland von Känel
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of General Internal MedicineUniversity Hospital/InselspitalBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Wyeth Pharmaceuticals AGZugSwitzerland
  3. 3.GEM Clinical Research Consulting M. GerberUnterägeri/ZGSwitzerland

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