The combination of triiodothyronine (T3) and sertraline is not superior to sertraline monotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder

Steven J. Garlow, Boadie W. Dunlop, Philip T. Ninan, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether the combination of triiodothyronine (T3) plus sertraline at treatment initiation confers greater antidepressant efficacy than sertraline plus placebo in patients with major depressive disorder. Method: Eight-week, double blind, randomized placebo controlled clinical trial of 153 adult outpatients between 18 and 60 years of age, with DSM-IV defined major depressive disorder. Patients were treated with sertraline flexibly adjusted for tolerability and in a double blind fashion with placebo or T3 (25 μg/day in week 1 and increasing to 50 μg/day in week 2). Response was defined categorically as 50% reduction and total score less than 15 in 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-21) at week 8 and remission as HRSD-21 less than 8. Results: There was no difference between treatment groups at final assessment; 65% of placebo and 61.8% of T3 treated subjects achieved response and 50.6% of placebo and 40.8% of T3 treated patients achieved remission. The mean daily dose at final assessment of sertraline and T3, respectively was 144.7 mg (±48.7 mg) and 48.2 μg (±7 μg). Median time to response did not differ between treatment groups. Baseline thyroid function tests did not predict response to sertraline treatment or T3 augmentation. Conclusions: These results do not support the routine use of T3 to enhance or accelerate onset of antidepressant response in patients with major depressive disorder (Clinical NCT00208702).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1406-1413
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012



  • Antidepressant
  • Augmentation
  • Depression
  • Remission
  • Response
  • Triiodothyronine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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