Psychiatry Investig.  2016 Jul;13(4):440-446. 10.4306/pi.2016.13.4.440.

Times to Discontinue Antidepressants Over 6 Months in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Bongseng Memorial Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Pusan National University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Paik Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Dong-A University Medical Center, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Maryknoll Medical Center, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 8Department of Statistics, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea.


The aim of the present study was to investigate differences in discontinuation time among antidepressants and total antidepressant discontinuation rate of patients with depression over a 6 month period in a naturalistic treatment setting.
We reviewed the medical records of 900 patients with major depressive disorder who were initially prescribed only one kind of antidepressant. The prescribed antidepressants and the reasons for discontinuation were surveyed at baseline and every 4 weeks during the 24 week study. We investigated the discontinuation rate and the mean time to discontinuation among six antidepressants groups.
Mean and median overall discontinuation times were 13.8 and 12 weeks, respectively. Sertraline and escitalopram had longer discontinuation times than that of fluoxetine, and patients who used sertraline discontinued use significantly later than those taking mirtazapine. No differences in discontinuation rate were observed after 24 weeks among these antidepressants. About 73% of patients discontinued antidepressant treatment after 24 weeks.
Sertraline and escitalopram tended to have longer mean times to discontinuation, although no difference in discontinuation rate was detected between antidepressants after 24 weeks. About three-quarters of patients discontinued antidepressant maintenance therapy after 24 weeks.


Antidepressant; Discontinuation; Escitalopram; Major depressive disorder; Sertraline
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