Comparing the effects of fluoxetine and imipramine on total cholesterol, triglyceride, and weight in patients with major depression

There are some reports on the effects of antidepressants on metabolic syndrome. However, our search in the previously published literature showed a lack of information on the comparison of the effects of different classes of antidepressants on lipid profile.

Therefore, this study was aimed to compare the effects of fluoxetine and imipramine on serum total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) as well as body weight (BW) in patients with major depressive disorder.

Methods: Fifty one patients, 18 to 70 years of age, with major depressive disorder complied with the criteria of this preliminary, open-label clinical trial. Subjects received either imipramine (75--200 mg/day) or fluoxetine (20--40 mg/day) for 8 weeks.

Total cholesterol and TG levels, as well as BW were compared at baseline with those at weeks 4 and 8. Data was analyzed by SPSS software version 16.0.

Results: In the fluoxetine group, TC levels decreased from 165.71 mg/dL to 156.71 mg/dL at week 4 (P = 0.07), and to 143.94 mg/dL at week 8 (P = 0.16); TG levels decreased from 129.35 mg/dL to 115.88 mg/dL at week 4 (P <0.001), and to 110.41 mg/dL at week 8 (P = 0.56).

In the imipramine group, TC levels increased from 169.10 mg/dL to 178.69 mg/dL at week 4 (P = 0.07), and to 208.69 mg/dL at week 8 (P <0.001) while TG levels increased from 111.73 mg/dL to 128.83 mg/dL at week 4 (P = 0.005), and to 160.90 mg/dL at week 8 (P <0.001). BW was significantly increased in the imipramine group at weeks 4 and 8.

In the fluoxetine group, BW was non-significantly decreased from 75.69 +/- 7.97 Kg (baseline) to 75.67 +/- 8.01 Kg at week 4 (P = 0.88), and to 75.22 +/- 8.67 Kg at week 8 (P = 0.20), while in the imipramine group, BW had significant increases from 72.53 +/- 8.55 Kg (baseline) to 73.95 +/- 8.61 mg/dL at week 4 (P <0.001), and to 75.13 +/- 8.34 mg/dL at week 8 (P <0.001).Repeated measures ANOVA showed significant effects on both TC and TG levels as well as on BW in all patients receiving imipramine. However, in patients on fluoxetine, repeated measures ANOVA showed significant effects of this medication only on TC levels in males.

Conclusions: Monitoring TC and TG and BW is recommended before starting imipramine in depressed patients with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Fluoxetine may be the preferred agent in those with high or borderline high lipid levels.

Published on: 2013-01-05

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