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pounds 30-a-month drug said to beat Prozac at treating depression.

Byline: Jane Kirby

A NEW drug is more effective than Prozac in treating depression, research out today suggests.

The pounds 30-a-month drug agomelatine (Valdoxan) was found to help 77.7% of people with severe depression compared with 68.8% on Prozac, a study comparing the drugs found.

The research, which is being presented today at the European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology in Istanbul, included patients from the UK.

Previous research has shown that, in the first week of treatment, agomelatine works in twice as many people compared to another antidepressant, venlafaxine (Efexor). There are also fewer side-effects from agomelatine, which can include weight gain, sexual problems and difficulty sleeping.

The latest study was carried out on a total of 515 patients with an average age of 42, who were followed for eight weeks.

The authors concluded: "This study demonstrates the superior efficacy of agomelatine over fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating severe depression, with a good tolerability profile, confirming that agomelatine offers a good alternative for the treatment of depression including the severe forms."

Lead researcher Professor Tony Hale, head of division of psychiatry at the University of Kent, added: "These results, showing better efficacy over Prozac, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the UK, add to the growing wealth of evidence supporting agomelatine as a new and important alternative for the treatment of depression.

"Despite the wide range of currently available antidepressants, there are still unmet needs in the management of depression.

"With its innovative mode of action, rapid response rate and fewer side effects, agomelatine represents a viable new option for people with this common and disabling mental health disorder."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 16, 2009
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