Mirtazapine in comorbid major depression and an alcohol use disorder: A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial

Jack R. Cornelius, Tammy Chung, Antoine B. Douaihy, Levent Kirisci, Jody Glance, Julie Kmiec, Douglas FitzGerald, Maribeth A. Wesesky, Ihsan Salloum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This was a first double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of the novel antidepressant medication mirtazapine for treating both the depressive symptoms and the level of alcohol consumption of subjects with comorbid major depressive disorder and an alcohol use disorder (MDD/AUD). The results of two previous studies of mirtazapine in MDD/AUD subjects had suggested efficacy for mirtazapine for decreasing their level of depressive symptoms, but level of alcohol consumption had not been assessed in those studies. All subjects in this 12-week pilot study were randomized to either mirtazapine or placebo, and also received motivational enhancement therapy. Between-group analyses involving the outcome measures of depressive symptoms, level of alcohol consumption, and level of alcohol craving indicated no significant differences between groups, possibly because of limited sample size. However, within-group t tests in the mirtazapine group showed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms by week 2, also noted at all subsequent assessments (weeks 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) during the 12-week study. In contrast, no significant decrease in depressive symptoms was noted in the placebo group until week 8. No evidence of efficacy was found for mirtazapine for decreasing level of alcohol consumption in MDD /AUD subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Aug 30 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Comorbid
  • Major depression
  • Mirtazapine


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