Cankurtaran, E. S., Ozalp, E., Soygur, H., Akbiyik, D. I., Turhan, L., & Alkis, N. (2008). Mirtazapine improves sleep and lowers anxiety and depression in cancer patients: superiority over imipramine. Supportive Care in Cancer, 16, 1291–1298.doi: 10.1007/s00520-008-0425-1
To compare the effectiveness of two psychotropic medications, mirtazapine and imipramine, on distressing somatic symptoms (i.e., pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and sleep disturbance) of cancer as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Patients self-selected to receive psychotropic medication and supportive psychotherapy (intervention group) or supportive psychotherapy only. Those who elected to take medication were randomly enrolled to receive mirtazapine or imipramine. Mean dosage of mirtazapine ranged from 5 to 30 mg/day, depending on the visit. Mean dosage of imipramine ranged from 5 to 100 mg/day, depending on the visit. Each group was then assessed at three visits: baseline and three and six weeks after therapy had begun.
Patients were undergoing the active treatment phase of care.
The study used a prospective, repeated measures design.
Mirtazapine is effective in resolving insomnia and in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer who have depression, anxiety, or adjustment disorders.
Mirtazapine may be useful in treating anxiety, depression, and insomnia in patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer who have clinically relevant anxiety or depression. More systematic research, such as placebo-controlled studies, is required.