Twenty-eight psychiatric patients older than 65 years with major depression with high probability of recurrence were enrolled in a 24-month open label clinical trial aimed at evaluating the long-term efficacy and safety of venlafaxine. All patients completed the acute phase of the study; 21 were responders and entered the follow-up period. During the continuation phase no relapse was observed. During the maintenance period, 20% of the patients had a single new recurrence. No significant side effects were observed. The results demonstrate that venlafaxine is both effective and safe in the long-term treatment of major depression in geropsychiatric patients.
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