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In the present randomized, controlled, double-blind trial (12 wk treatment plus double-blind extension for 12 wk), 25-50 mg/d agomelatine (n = 164) and 10-20 mg/d escitalopram (n = 160) were compared for short- and long-term efficacy, subjective sleep and tolerability. The effects of these drugs on emotional experiences were also compared in patients having completed the Oxford Questionnaire on the Emotional Side-Effects of Antidepressants (agomelatine: n = 25; escitalopram: n = 20). Agomelatine and escitalopram similarly improved depressive symptoms, with clinically relevant score changes over 12 and 24 wk and notable percentage of remitters (week 12: 60.9 and 54.4%; week 24: 69.6 and 63.1% respectively). Over the 12 and 24-wk treatment periods, the 'global satisfaction on sleep' scores increased in both treatment groups and did not differ between groups. Satisfaction with sleep-wake quality was high in both groups; the 'wellness feeling on waking' was more improved with agomelatine than with escitalopram (p = 0.02). In patients with pronounced sleep complaints, quality of sleep and feeling on waking were significantly more improved with agomelatine than with escitalopram (p = 0.016 and p = 0.009, respectively). Emotional blunting was less frequent on agomelatine than on escitalopram. Indeed, 28% of patients on agomelatine vs. 60% on escitalopram felt that their emotions lacked intensity and 16% of patients on agomelatine vs. 53% on escitalopram felt that things that they cared about before illness did not seem important any more (p = 0.024). The tolerability profile of agomelatine was found to be superior to that of escitalopram and the incidence of patients with at least one emergent adverse event leading to treatment discontinuation was lower in the agomelatine group than in the escitalopram group (5.5 vs. 10.6%). The findings suggest that agomelatine displays additional long-term clinical benefits on sleep-wake quality and emotional experiences over escitalopram in the management of depression.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Neuropsychopharmacol

Publication Date





2219 - 2234


Acetamides, Adult, Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation, Citalopram, Depressive Disorder, Major, Double-Blind Method, Emotions, Female, Humans, Hypnotics and Sedatives, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Satisfaction, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Sleep, Surveys and Questionnaires, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Wakefulness