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Relative sensitivity of the Montgomery–Åsberg depression rating scale, the Hamilton depression rating scale and the Clinical Global Impressions rating scale in antidepressant clinical trials: a replication analysis

Khan, Arifa b; Brodhead, Amy E.a; Kolts, Russell L.c

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: May 2004 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 157-160

The present study replicates a previous study in which we found that the less frequently used Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) is as sensitive an instrument in detecting antidepressant-placebo differences in antidepressant clinical trials as the more widely used Hamilton Depression (HAM-D) rating scale. The Clinical Global Impressions Rating Scale for Severity (CGI-S) was also similar to the other two scales. A retrospective chart review was performed on the records of 139 depressed adult patients who participated in six randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind antidepressant clinical trials at the North-west Clinical Research Centre between 1996 and 2003. The effect size (measured as the mean change in rating with antidepressants minus the mean change for placebo divided by the pooled SD of change) was 0.68 with MADRS, 0.54 with CGI-S and 0.57 with HAM-D. A correlation analysis also revealed a significant positive relationships between baseline MADRS and HAM-D and final MADRS and HAM-D for the total sample, placebo group, and antidepressant group (P<0.01). Further research is needed to examine which scale is the most appropriate to use for each particular antidepressant clinical trial.

aNorth-west Clinical Research Center, Bellevue, Washington

bDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina

cDepartment of Psychology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, USA

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Arif Khan, 1900 116th Avenue NE #112, Bellevue, WA 98004, USA

Tel: +1 425 453 0404; fax: +1 425 453 1033; e-mail:

Received 10 January 2004 Accepted 27 January 2004

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.