The British Journal of Psychiatry


Nortriptyline was compared with amitriptyline in the treatment of 50 patients suffering from primary depressive disorders and classified as reactive and endogenous depressions. All patients received promazine hydrochloride in addition to specific anti-depressant therapy and were assessed initially and after 2 and 4 weeks treatment.

Comparison without diagnostic classification showed no significant difference in outcome between the two drugs, although amitriptyline was consistently more effective. The outcome of endogenous depressions treated with amitriptyline was significantly better than all other diagnostic groups; reactive depressions on this drug showed the least improvement but not significantly inferior to reactive and endogenous cases on nortriptyline, the latter two groups having almost identical outcomes. Side-effects were least numerous with nortriptyline and on the whole interfered little with treatment.