MAO-Inhibitors Revisited II: Clinical Implications

  • Ole J. Rafaelsen
  • Annette Gjerris


For nearly forty years clinicians have had the feeling that there were types of depressions responding better or only to MAO-inhibitors. But whenever it was tried to prove this tenet by comparisons in well-planned studies, the results were disappointing. The most notorious case was the British Medical Research Council from 1965 where the MAO-inhibitor phenelzine was inferior not only to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and to imipramine, but also to placebo, — the latter difference was, fortunately enough, not statistically significant (Shepherd, 1965). Ever since, many clinicians has argued that it was indeed the ‘atypical’ depressive patients who were candidates for MAO-inhibitor treatment and that such patients did rarely enter psychiatric hospitals and departments and that it therefore was not surprising that the results with hospitalized patients were rather disappointing (Quitkin et al., 1981).


Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor Electroconvulsive Therapy Biological Psychiatry Atypical Depression 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ole J. Rafaelsen
    • 1
  • Annette Gjerris
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychochemistry Institute & Department of PsychiatryRigshospitaletCopenhagen øDenmark

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