Comorbid anxiety in late-life depression: Relationship with remission and suicidal ideation on venlafaxine treatment

Yasmina M. Saade, Ginger Nicol, Eric J. Lenze, J. Philip Miller, Michael Yingling, Julie Loebach Wetherell, Charles F. Reynolds, Benoit H. Mulsant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of comorbid anxiety symptoms on antidepressant treatment remission in older adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). Method: In this multisite clinical trial, 468 older adults aged 60 years or older with MDD received open-label protocolized treatment with venlafaxine extended release (ER) titrated to a maximum of 300 mg daily. At baseline, anxiety was assessed with the Anxiety Sensitivity Index, the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) anxiety subscale, and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. To measure treatment response, depressive symptoms and suicidality were assessed every 1–2 weeks with the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the 19-item Scale for Suicide Ideation; anxiety was assessed with the BSI. Logistic regression and survival analysis were used to evaluate whether anxiety symptoms predicted depression remission. We also examined the relationships between anxiety scores and suicidality at baseline. Results: Baseline anxiety symptoms did not predict remission or time to remission of depressive symptoms. Depressive, worry, and panic symptoms decreased in parallel in patients with high anxiety. Anxiety symptoms were associated with the severity of depression and with suicidality. Conclusion: In older adults with MDD, comorbid anxiety symptoms are associated with symptom severity but do not affect antidepressant remission or time to remission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1134
Number of pages10
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • antidepressants
  • anxiety/anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • geriatric/aging/elderly
  • suicide/self-harm


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