Duloxetine in the treatment of elderly people with major depressive disorder

Antonio Del Casale, Paolo Girardi, Roberto Brugnoli, Gabriele Sani, Simone Di Pietro, Chiara Brugnoli, Federica Caccia, Gloria Angeletti, Daniele Serata, Chiara Rapinesi, Roberto Tatarelli, Georgios D. Kotzalidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. The elderly population is more frequently subjected to depressive mood compared to the general population and show peculiarities affecting responsiveness; furthermore, aged people need also special care. Duloxetine is a relatively new antidepressant that proved to be effective in adult depression, but has received little attention in elderly populations heretofore. Aim. To review the evidence of duloxetine in late-life major depressive disorder (MDD). Method. A systematic review of studies focusing on the use of duloxetine in MDD in the elderly has been carried out through the principal specialized databases, including PubMed, PsycLIT, and Embase. Results. Only a handful of papers were specifically dedicated to this issue. Duloxetine was found to be effective and safe in old-age MDD, to be better than placebo on many clinical measures in all studies, and to better differentiate from placebo with respect to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Compared to placebo, its side-effect profile is slightly unfavorable and its drop-out rate is slightly higher. Furthermore, when pain is present in old-age MDD, duloxetine is able to reduce it. Conclusions. The efficacy and safety of duloxetine in old-age depression are similar to those encountered in adult MDD. There is a relative lack of comparative studies other than with placebo. The special needs of elderly patients with MDD must be addressed with close patient contact to avoid the perils of inappropriate dosing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-488
Number of pages10
JournalRivista di Psichiatria
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Antidepressant pharmacotherapy
  • Duloxetine
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Old age
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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