Folinic acid (leucovorin) as an adjunctive treatment for SSRI-refractory depression

Jonathan E. Alpert, David Mischoulon, Grace E.F. Rubenstein, Kathryn Bottonari, Andrew A. Nierenberg, Maurizio Fava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

113 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low folate is associated with poorer response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in major depressive disorder (MDD). Folate supplementation in MDD has been studied in other settings with promising results. The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of methylfolate as an adjunctive treatment among adults with MDD and inadequate response to an SSRI. Twenty-two adults (59% female; mean age 45.2 ± 11.0 years) with DSM-IV MDD, partial or nonresponse to an SSRI after at least 4 weeks of treatment, and a 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D-17) score ≥ 12 were enrolled in this 8-week prospective open trial. Exclusion criteria included current use of anticonvulsants or psychotropics other than an SSRI, or B12 deficiency. Leucovorin (folinic acid), which is metabolized to methylfolate, was added to SSRIs at 15-30 mg/day. Folate levels rose from 28 ± 19 ng/mL to 301 ± 203 ng/mL (p < 0.001). HAM-D-17 scores among the 16 completers decreased from 19.1 ± 3.9 to 12.8 ± 7.0 (p < 0.01). However only 31% of completers and 27% of the intent-to-treat (ITT) sample achieved response (≥50% reduction in HAM-D-17 scores), and only 19% of completers and 18% of the ITT sample achieved remission (HAM-D-17 ≤ 7). Leucovorin appears to be modestly effective as an adjunct among SSRI-refractory depressed individuals with normal folate levels. The application of leucovorin as an adjunct in the setting of refractory depression deserves further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Treatment-Resistant Depressive Disorder
Leucovorin
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Major Depressive Disorder
Folic Acid
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Anticonvulsants
Depression

Keywords

  • Augmentation
  • Depression
  • Folate
  • Leucovorin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Alpert, J. E., Mischoulon, D., Rubenstein, G. E. F., Bottonari, K., Nierenberg, A. A., & Fava, M. (2002). Folinic acid (leucovorin) as an adjunctive treatment for SSRI-refractory depression. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 14(1), 33-38. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015271927517

Folinic acid (leucovorin) as an adjunctive treatment for SSRI-refractory depression. / Alpert, Jonathan E.; Mischoulon, David; Rubenstein, Grace E.F.; Bottonari, Kathryn; Nierenberg, Andrew A.; Fava, Maurizio.

In: Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2002, p. 33-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alpert, JE, Mischoulon, D, Rubenstein, GEF, Bottonari, K, Nierenberg, AA & Fava, M 2002, 'Folinic acid (leucovorin) as an adjunctive treatment for SSRI-refractory depression', Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 33-38. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015271927517
Alpert, Jonathan E. ; Mischoulon, David ; Rubenstein, Grace E.F. ; Bottonari, Kathryn ; Nierenberg, Andrew A. ; Fava, Maurizio. / Folinic acid (leucovorin) as an adjunctive treatment for SSRI-refractory depression. In: Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. 2002 ; Vol. 14, No. 1. pp. 33-38.
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