Résumé : A multicenter controlled study was designed to test the hypothesis that a loading dose of an antidepressant could shorten the latency of its clinical efficacy. Three parallel groups of about 40 endogenous depressive inpatients received either a loading dose of milnacipran (300 mg daily for 2 weeks and 150 mg daily during the 2 following weeks), the standard regimen of milnacipran in severe depression (200 mg daily for 4 weeks), or fluvoxamine (200 mg daily for 4 weeks). The duration of the study was 4 weeks, with assessments at baseline and after 4, 9, 14, 21, and 28 days of therapy by means of Montgomery and Asberg depression scale (MADS), the Hamilton depression scale, the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI), and a checklist of symptoms and side-effects. Results showed very similar evolution in the 3 treatment groups. In addition, the level of side-effects did not exhibit significant differences among the treatment groups, except for excitement-nervousness and akathisia which were more frequently reported with fluvoxamine. These results do not support the usefulness of a loading dose of an antidepressant such as milnacipran. They demonstrate however that milnacipran can be given at a 300 mg daily dose from the very first day of treatment with an excellent tolerance. © 1991.