Six months of desipramine for dysthymia: Can dysthymic patients achieve normal social functioning?

Richard A. Friedman, John C. Markowitz, Michael Parides, Leah Gniwesch, James H. Kocsis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: There is evidence that antidepressant medication improves social dysfunction during acute treatment in dysthymic patients but it is unknown if the gain in social functioning persists or progresses with longer-term antidepressant treatment. We examine the effect of 6 months of desipramine treatment on social functioning in dysthymic patients. Methods: Forty-six subjects with DSM-III-R dysthymia (70% with superimposed major depression) who had responded to 10 weeks of open-label desipramine (DMI) treatment received 16 additional weeks of continuation DMI. Social functioning was measured at weeks 0, 10 and 26 with the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report. Results: Euthymia was maintained and a marginally significant trend for further improvement in overall social functioning appeared during continuation treatment. Only 24% of subjects achieved normative level of social adjustment after 6 months of DMI treatment. Limitations: The main limitation was the lack of a placebo control group. Conclusion: Acute improvement in social functioning persists during continuation treatment. However, most dysthymic patients did not achieve a community level of social adjustment. Significant social dysfunction persists in dysthymic patients with low levels of depressive symptomatology after 6 months of intense DMI treatment. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-286
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuation treatment
  • Desipramine
  • Dysthymia
  • Social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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