Functional Impairment and Painful Physical Symptoms in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder Treated with Antidepressants: Real-World Evidence from the Middle East

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 30 Sept 2017 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017901713010145



The Global Burden of Disease 2010 study reported the relative size of major depressive disorder (MDD) burden to be greater in the Middle East and North Africa than anywhere else. However, little research has been carried out to examine the comparative effectiveness of antidepressants in this region.


To assess and compare functioning levels in Middle Eastern patients with MDD treated with either duloxetine or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and to examine the impacts of depression-related pain on functioning by the type of treatment.


This post-hoc analysis, which focused on Middle Eastern patients, used data from a 6-month prospective observational study that included 1,549 MDD patients without sexual dysfunction. Levels of functional impairment and depression-related pain were assessed using the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) and the modified Somatic Symptom Inventory, respectively. A mixed model with repeated measures (MMRM) was employed.


The mean age of the patients was 37.3 (SD=8.4) years, and 34.6% were female. Patient functioning was, on average, moderately impaired at baseline, but improved substantially during follow-up in both the duloxetine (n=152) and the SSRI (n=123) cohorts. The MMRM results showed a lower level of functional impairment at 24 weeks in the duloxetine cohort than in the SSRI cohort (p<0.001). Pain severity at baseline was positively associated with functional impairment during follow-up only in the SSRI cohort (p=0.003).


Duloxetine-treated MDD patients achieved better functioning than SSRI-treated patients. This treatment difference was partly driven by depression-related pain.

Keywords: Depression , Antidepressant , Duloxetine , SSRI , Functioning , Middle East .
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