A Review Of The Literature Of Mirtazapine In Co-Occurring Depression And An Alcohol Use Disorder
Background: Prior medication studies involving individuals with major depression in combination with an alcohol use disorder (MDD/AUD) have mainly focused on SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants, with generally ineffective results. Consequently, effective treatments for that common comorbid condition remain elusive. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant medicine with a unique pharmacological profile, whose effectiveness for treating noncomorbid depression reportedly may exceed that of SSRIs. Objective/Methods: We now review the published literature regarding the tolerability and efficacy of mirtazapine for the treatment of the depression and the pathological alcohol ingestion of individuals with co-occurring MDD/AUD, including a review of four of our own small studies and two studies conducted outside the United States. Results/Conclusions: The findings of these studies suggest that mirtazapine is well tolerated among persons with comorbid MDD/AUD. Results also provide some evidence of efficacy for mirtazapine for decreasing the level of depression of persons with co-occurring MDD/AUD, and suggest that decreases in depression may occur relatively quickly after starting treatment, but provide no evidence of effectiveness for decreasing the level of alcohol ingestion. Large-scale double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are warranted to further clarify the tolerability and efficacy of mirtazapine among individuals with MDD/AUD.