Dexamethasone for the Treatment of Depression: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial

George W. Arana, Alberto Santos, Michele T. Laraia, Stephen McLeod-Bryant, Mark D. Beale, Laura J. Rames, John M. Roberts, James K. Dias, Monica Molloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors' goal was to assess dexamethasone for the treatment of depression. Method: Thirty-seven outpatients (11 men and 26 women) meeting DSM-III-R criteria for major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 4 mg/day of oral dexamethasone for 4 days. Baseline Hamilton depression scale scores were compared with scores obtained 14 days after the first dose of study medication. Data were analyzed by using two-sample t tests, chi-square methods, and Fisher's exact test. Results: Seven (37%) of the 19 patients given dexamethasone but only one (6%) of the 18 patients given placebo responded positively. No adverse events or side effects were reported, and all patients who entered the study completed it. Conclusions: A brief course of oral dexamethasone (4 days) was significantly more effective than placebo within 14 days for the treatment of depression in a randomized, double-blind study of depressed outpatients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-267
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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