Clinical Drug Investigation

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 539–543 | Cite as

Comparing the Effects of Sertraline with Duloxetine for Depression Severity and Symptoms: A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Arash MowlaEmail author
  • Seyed Ali Dastgheib
  • Leila Razeghian Jahromi
Original Research Article


Background and Objective

Selecting the most effective treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) is a challenge for clinicians. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of sertraline with duloxetine on major depression signs and symptoms.


The trial was a 6-week, randomized, controlled, double-blind study. Sixty-three patients with diagnosis of MDD according to DSM-IV-TR criteria were randomly assigned to receive either duloxetine (31 patients) or sertraline (32 patients). The mean dosage of duloxetine was 55 mg/day (range 40–60 mg/day) and the mean dosage of sertraline was 146 mg/day (range 50–200 mg/day). Subjects were assessed at baseline, and at the end of week 6. Depression severity and symptoms were assessed by 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D).


Of 63 patients who were randomized to treatment, 54 patients including 28 in the sertraline group and 26 in the duloxetine group completed the trial. The HAM-D total score for both groups was significantly reduced at the end of the trial period without significant difference from each other (p = 0.463). Of the symptoms studied, psychomotor retardation, general somatic symptoms and sexual problems improved more in the duloxetine group. On the other hand, agitation, anxiety symptoms and hypochondriasis ameliorated better in the sertraline group. There was no difference between the two groups regarding the other symptoms.


Our study shows that the antidepressant mechanism of action has influence on its effects on different signs and symptoms. Clinician awareness of an antidepressant’s special effects can help in selecting appropriate medicine.


Major Depressive Disorder Anxiety Symptom Sertraline Major Depressive Disorder Duloxetine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by vice chancellor for research of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences with Grant Number 93-01-34-8919.

Conflicts of interest

AM, SAD and LRJ have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the ethics committee of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences that adheres to the Declaration of Helsinki Ethical Principles, 1964 for Medical Research.

Informed consent

All patients provided written informed consent to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arash Mowla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Seyed Ali Dastgheib
    • 1
  • Leila Razeghian Jahromi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Research CenterShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran

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