Last updated on February 2018

Tibolone and Placebo in Adjunct to Antidepressant Medication for Women With Menopausal Depression


Brief description of study

Longitudinal epidemiological studies have shown that many women experience significant physical and psychological changes as they approach menopause and for a long time following. Vasomotor symptoms (such as hot flushes, night sweats), sleep disturbances and changes in libido are common, and impact significantly on the quality of life, social and personal well-being. However, the major reason that many women seek help from menopause clinics or their doctors, is for depression and anxiety symptoms. As such, treatment commonly draws on traditional approaches for the management of major depression including the use of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) as the first line response. However, standard treatment of menopausal depression using antidepressants has only shown small improvements at best and at worst, is associated with severe side effects. Some SSRIs have been shown to be less effective in postmenopausal women compared to child bearing age women.

Newer therapies directly targeting the disrupted hormonal systems (in particular estrogen) through the administration of such compounds as tibolone, have shown significant potential to treat depression with the added benefit of fewer adverse side effects. With growing evidence supporting the use of tibolone as a viable and improved treatment for menopausal depression, the investigators propose to investigate the potential of tibolone, a selective Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), to ameliorate de-novo or first onset depression occurring in the menopausal period.

Detailed Study Description

All women experience menopause and a significant number suffer from ongoing, severe depression beginning with the major hormone fluctuations in this middle stage of life. Longitudinal epidemiological studies have shown that many women experience significant physical and psychological changes as they approach menopause and for a long time following. Vasomotor symptoms (such as hot flushes, night sweats), sleep disturbances and changes in libido are common, and impact significantly on the quality of life, social and personal well-being. However, the major reason that many women seek help from menopause clinics or their doctors is for depression and anxiety symptoms.

Indeed, many menopausal women with no past psychiatric history experience severe mood symptoms during menopause for the first time in their life, and this has serious and debilitating long term consequences. Treatment for such depression commonly draws on traditional approaches for the management of major depression including the use of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) as the first line response. However, standard treatment of menopausal depression using antidepressants has only shown small improvements at best and at worst, is associated with severe side effects. Some SSRIs have been shown to be less effective in postmenopausal women compared to women of child bearing age.

Newer therapies directly targeting the fluctuations in reproductive hormonal hormone systems (in particular estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) through the administration of such compounds as tibolone, have shown significant potential to treat depression with the added benefit of fewer adverse side effects. With growing evidence supporting the use of tibolone as a viable and improved treatment for menopausal depression, the investigators propose to investigate the potential of tibolone, a selective Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), to ameliorate de-novo or relapsing depression occurring in the menopausal period.

Women with menopausal depression either currently using or not using an SSRI or SNRI medication will be involved in a 12 week randomized control trial in which they may be randomised to one of two groups: i) Tibolone (2.5mg oral/day) or ii) placebo.

It is hypothesized that women receiving Tibolone in adjunct to standard antidepressant medication, will have the same as or a significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms compared with women receiving placebo in adjunct to standard antidepressant medication and women not using any psychotropic/hormone treatment.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01470092

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