A group of forty patients who presented to their general practitioner with depression or somatic complaints, which were considered to be due to depression, were included in a double-blind trial of dothiepin and amitriptyline. Patient improvement as judged by the Hamilton Rating Scale (HRS) and the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS) indicated that both groups significantly improved over the 6 week period. Only in one comparison, CPRS after 1 week, was there any statistical difference between the groups and in this case dothiepin produced a better response than amitriptyline (p less than 0.05). Statistical analysis of side-effects indicated that the frequency and severity of certain individual side-effects, hypotension, tiredness/sleepiness and dry mouth were significantly less with dothiepin than with amitriptyline at Week 1 (p less than 0.05). The overall incidence and severity of side-effects was also less with dothiepin at all assessments during the trial.