Saturday, 7 March 2009

Are the new antidepressants any better?

You may recall that the Kirsch et al study showed a trend (that was not statistically significant) for venlafaxine to be superior to other antidepressants. But there are a number of newer antidepressants, how do they compare to the vanilla SSRIs?

A new meta-analysis in the Lancet tried to find out:
"Mirtazapine, escitalopram, venlafaxine, and sertraline were significantly more efficacious than duloxetine (odds ratios [OR] 1·39, 1·33, 1·30 and 1·27, respectively), fluoxetine (1·37, 1·32, 1·28, and 1·25, respectively), fluvoxamine (1·41, 1·35, 1·30, and 1·27, respectively), paroxetine (1·35, 1·30, 1·27, and 1·22, respectively), and reboxetine (2·03, 1·95, 1·89, and 1·85, respectively). Reboxetine was significantly less efficacious than all the other antidepressants tested. Escitalopram and sertraline showed the best profile of acceptability, leading to significantly fewer discontinuations than did duloxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, reboxetine, and venlafaxine."
I haven't read it yet, so I can't speak for its veracity.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Someone else on anti-depressants and placebo

Nice post on Neuroskeptic looking at a recent meta-analysis of anti-depressants:
After fifty years of research, and untold millions of research dollars, there are hundreds of published clinical trials of antidepressants. It's when you try to make sense of the results of this great mass of trials that the problems become apparent. The latest attempt to do that is a paper from a German-American collaboration, Rief et. al.'s Meta-analysis of the placebo response in antidepressant trials. The authors set out to
Determine overall effect sizes of placebo and drug effects in antidepressant trials
In other words, they wanted to find out how much people improve when given antidepressants, and how much of that improvement is due to the placebo effect.
Read it all.