OBJECTIVE: To determine whether venlafaxine exerts a differential effect on blood pressure in young versus old depressed patients. METHOD: We compared thirty-four consecutive patients treated with 50-250 mg/day venlafaxine for major depressive disorder or another major mood disorder at our medical college’s ambulatory neuropsychiatry program. We obtained baseline and follow-up blood pressure measurements. Each patient also received a baseline and final Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) score; global improvement was determined by consensus of two clinicians.
RESULTS: Sixteen nongeriatric patients (age, 13 to 56 years) were compared with eighteen elderly patients (age, 65 to 86 years). Most patients (88%) had serious medical comorbidities or histories. Despite a higher mean daily venlafaxine dosage for patients in the young group, no significant changes in systolic blood pressure were noted in either group. For the older group, we found a non-statistically significant 4.7 mm Hg mean increase in diastolic blood pressure. No patient became hypertensive. We also found a negative correlation between baseline diastolic blood pressure and change in diastolic blood pressure during treatment with venlafaxine. This inverse relationship was statistically significant in the older patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Venlafaxine was not associated with significant, sustained changes in blood pressure in any patient receiving dosages of 50-250 mg/day. Minimal changes in diastolic blood pressure were no more likely to occur in older venlafaxine-treated patients than in younger ones. Higher baseline diastolic blood pressure in older patients, but not in younger ones, seemed to protect against diastolic adrenergic blood pressure effects of venlafaxine.
Int. J Psychiatry Med. 1997;27(4):353-64.