Many of the patients with depression fail to achieve an adequate response to a given antidepressant. Depression is often overlooked in elderly persons, which may produce a greater risk of suicide in this age group. The antidepressive characteristic of bupropion has been already validated in several studies. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no research concerning treatment-resistant depressive elderly patients with bupropion.
We present a consecutive series of elderly patients (13 subjects: 6 men and 7 women) with major depression. All patients were older than 60 years, with diagnosis of major depressive disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition and were treatment resistant. Patients were treated openly for 6 weeks with bupropion XR (300 mg/d). Efficacy was assessed at baseline and every 3 weeks using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Montgomery-Asberg Depressive Rating Scale, and the Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness Scale.
The treatment was generally well tolerated without serious events. In all patients, the average Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores diminished from 41.1 to 17.2 at the sixth week (P < 0.0001), the Montgomery-Asberg Depressive Rating Scale scores diminished from 44.0 to 19.9 (P < 0.0001), and Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness scores diminished from 5.7 to 3.2 (P < 0.0001). Of the 13 patients, 9 patients had marked and very marked improvement, and 4 patients did not demonstrate any mental state change.
Treatment-resistant depressive elderly patients positively responded to and tolerated bupropion XR well. This case series demonstrates that bupropion could be a promising alternative therapy for elderly patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Further randomized controlled studies are necessary.