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      Efficacy and Safety of Seltorexant as Adjunctive Therapy in Major Depressive Disorder: A Phase 2b, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Adaptive Dose-Finding Study


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          Seltorexant, a selective antagonist of human orexin-2 receptors, demonstrated antidepressant effects in a previous exploratory study in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).


          To replicate and extend this observation, a double-blind, adaptive dose-finding study was performed in patients with MDD who had an inadequate response to 1–3 selective serotonin/serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors in the current episode. Patients were randomized (2:1:1) to placebo or seltorexant (20 mg or 40 mg) once-daily, administered adjunctively to the antidepressant the patient had been receiving at screening. After an interim analysis (6 weeks post-randomization of 160th patient), newly recruited patients randomly received (3:3:1) placebo or seltorexant 10 mg or 20 mg; the 40-mg dose was no longer assigned. Patients were stratified by baseline Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores (ISI ≥ 15 vs < 15). The primary endpoint was change from baseline Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score at week 6.


          Mixed-Model for Repeated Measures analysis showed a greater improvement in MADRS total score in the seltorexant 20-mg group vs placebo at weeks 3 and 6; least-square means difference (90% CI): −4.5 (−6.96; −2.07), P = .003; and −3.1 (−6.13; −0.16), P = .083, respectively. The improvement in MADRS score at week 6 for seltorexant 20 mg was greater in patients with baseline ISI ≥ 15 vs those with ISI < 15; least-square means difference (90% CI) vs placebo: −4.9 (−8.98; −0.80) and −0.7 (−5.16; 3.76), respectively. The most common (≥5%) adverse events with seltorexant were somnolence, headache, and nausea.


          A clinically meaningful reduction of depressive symptoms was observed for seltorexant 20 mg. In the subset of patients with sleep disturbance (ISI ≥ 15), a larger treatment difference between seltorexant 20 mg and placebo was observed, warranting further investigation. No new safety signal was identified.


          ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03227224

          Previous presentation

          Poster presented at 58th Annual Meeting of American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), December 8–11, 2019, Orlando, FL.

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          Most cited references41

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          This report describes the participants and compares the acute and longer-term treatment outcomes associated with each of four successive steps in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial. A broadly representative adult outpatient sample with nonpsychotic major depressive disorder received one (N=3,671) to four (N=123) successive acute treatment steps. Those not achieving remission with or unable to tolerate a treatment step were encouraged to move to the next step. Those with an acceptable benefit, preferably symptom remission, from any particular step could enter a 12-month naturalistic follow-up phase. A score of or=11 (HRSD(17)>or=14) defined relapse. The QIDS-SR(16) remission rates were 36.8%, 30.6%, 13.7%, and 13.0% for the first, second, third, and fourth acute treatment steps, respectively. The overall cumulative remission rate was 67%. Overall, those who required more treatment steps had higher relapse rates during the naturalistic follow-up phase. In addition, lower relapse rates were found among participants who were in remission at follow-up entry than for those who were not after the first three treatment steps. When more treatment steps are required, lower acute remission rates (especially in the third and fourth treatment steps) and higher relapse rates during the follow-up phase are to be expected. Studies to identify the best multistep treatment sequences for individual patients and the development of more broadly effective treatments are needed.
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            Our aim was to calculate the global burden of disease and risk factors for 2001, to examine regional trends from 1990 to 2001, and to provide a starting point for the analysis of the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP). We calculated mortality, incidence, prevalence, and disability adjusted life years (DALYs) for 136 diseases and injuries, for seven income/geographic country groups. To assess trends, we re-estimated all-cause mortality for 1990 with the same methods as for 2001. We estimated mortality and disease burden attributable to 19 risk factors. About 56 million people died in 2001. Of these, 10.6 million were children, 99% of whom lived in low-and-middle-income countries. More than half of child deaths in 2001 were attributable to acute respiratory infections, measles, diarrhoea, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The ten leading diseases for global disease burden were perinatal conditions, lower respiratory infections, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoeal diseases, unipolar major depression, malaria, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and tuberculosis. There was a 20% reduction in global disease burden per head due to communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional conditions between 1990 and 2001. Almost half the disease burden in low-and-middle-income countries is now from non-communicable diseases (disease burden per head in Sub-Saharan Africa and the low-and-middle-income countries of Europe and Central Asia increased between 1990 and 2001). Undernutrition remains the leading risk factor for health loss. An estimated 45% of global mortality and 36% of global disease burden are attributable to the joint hazardous effects of the 19 risk factors studied. Uncertainty in all-cause mortality estimates ranged from around 1% in high-income countries to 15-20% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Uncertainty was larger for mortality from specific diseases, and for incidence and prevalence of non-fatal outcomes. Despite uncertainties about mortality and burden of disease estimates, our findings suggest that substantial gains in health have been achieved in most populations, countered by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and setbacks in adult mortality in countries of the former Soviet Union. Our results on major disease, injury, and risk factor causes of loss of health, together with information on the cost-effectiveness of interventions, can assist in accelerating progress towards better health and reducing the persistent differentials in health between poor and rich countries.
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              Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) 2016 Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder: Section 3. Pharmacological Treatments.

              The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) conducted a revision of the 2009 guidelines by updating the evidence and recommendations. The scope of the 2016 guidelines remains the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults, with a target audience of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

                Author and article information

                Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
                Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
                International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
                Oxford University Press (US )
                December 2021
                29 July 2021
                29 July 2021
                : 24
                : 12
                : 965-976
                [1 ] Janssen Research & Development, LLC , Titusville, New Jersey, USA
                [2 ] Janssen Research & Development, LLC , Beerse, Belgium
                [3 ] Janssen Research & Development, LLC , Fremont, California, USA
                [4 ] Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VAMC , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
                [5 ] Janssen Research & Development LLC , San Diego, California, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Adam Savitz, MD, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, 1125 Trenton-Harbourton Road, Titusville, NJ 08560 ( adamsavitz@ 123456gmail.com ).
                © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

                : 24 December 2020
                : 04 June 2021
                : 27 July 2021
                : 15 August 2021
                Page count
                Pages: 12
                Funded by: Janssen Research & Development, LLC;
                Regular Research Articles

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                adjunctive therapy,major depressive disorder,orexin-2,seltorexant


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