Normalization of EEG in depression after antidepressant treatment with sertraline? A preliminary report

N. van der Vinne*, M. A. Vollebregt, N. N. Boutros, K. Fallahpour, M. J.A.M. van Putten, M. Arns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Background: MDD patients with abnormal EEG patterns seem more likely to be non-responsive to the antidepressants escitalopram and venlafaxine, but not sertraline, than patients without EEG abnormalities. This finding suggests that patients with both MDD and abnormal EEGs may differentially respond to antidepressant treatment. In the current study, we investigated whether depressed patients with an abnormal EEG show a normalization of the EEG related to antidepressant treatment and response and whether such effect is drug specific, and whether having had early life stress (ELS) increases the chance of abnormal activity. Methods: Baseline and week 8 EEGs and depression symptoms were extracted from a large multicenter study (iSPOT-D, n = 1008) where depressed patients were randomized to escitalopram, sertraline, or venlafaxine-XR treatment. We calculated Odds Ratios of EEG normalization and depression response in patients with an abnormal EEG at baseline, comparing sertraline versus other antidepressants. Results: Fifty seven patients with abnormal EEGs were included. EEGs did not normalize significantly more with sertraline compared to other antidepressants (OR = 1.9, p =.280). However, patients with a normalized EEG taking sertraline were 5.2 times more likely to respond than subjects taking other antidepressants (p =.019). ELS was not significantly related to abnormal activity. Limitations: Neurophysiological recordings were limited in time (two times 2-minute EEGs) and statistical power (n = 57 abnormal EEGs). Conclusions: Response rates in patients with normalized EEG taking sertraline were significantly larger than in subjects treated with escitalopram/venlafaxine. This adds to personalized medicine and suggests a possible drug repurposing for sertraline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Antidepressant
  • Depression
  • EEG
  • Paroxysmal
  • Personalized medicine
  • Prognosis
  • 22/4 OA procedure


Dive into the research topics of 'Normalization of EEG in depression after antidepressant treatment with sertraline? A preliminary report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this