Duloxetine versus other anti-depressive agents for depression

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Policlinico "G.B.Rossi", Piazzale L.A. Scuro, 10, Verona, Italy, 37134.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 01/2012; 10(10):CD006533. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006533.pub2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, in primary and secondary care settings antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. Amongst antidepressants many different agents are available. Duloxetine hydrochloride is a dual reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine and has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in the US for major depressive disorder (MDD), generalised anxiety disorder, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
To assess the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of duloxetine in comparison with all other antidepressant agents in the acute-phase treatment of major depression.
MEDLINE (1966 to 2012), EMBASE (1974 to 2012), the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials up to March 2012. No language restriction was applied. Reference lists of relevant papers and previous systematic reviews were hand-searched. Pharmaceutical company marketing duloxetine and experts in this field were contacted for supplemental data.
Randomised controlled trials allocating patients with major depression to duloxetine versus any other antidepressive agent.
Two review authors independently extracted data and a double-entry procedure was employed. Information extracted included study characteristics, participant characteristics, intervention details and outcome measures in terms of efficacy, acceptability and tolerability.
A total of 16 randomised controlled trials (overall 5735 participants) were included in this systematic review. Of these, three trials were unpublished. We found 11 studies (overall 3304 participants) comparing duloxetine with one selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) (six studies versus paroxetine, three studies versus escitalopram and two versus fluoxetine), four studies (overall 1978 participants) comparing duloxetine with a newer antidepressants (three with venlafaxine and one with desvenlafaxine, respectively) and one study (overall 453 participants) comparing duloxetine with an antipsychotic drug which is also used as an antidepressive agent, quetiapine. No studies were found comparing duloxetine with tricyclic antidepressants. The pooled confidence intervals were rather wide and there were no statistically significant differences in efficacy when comparing duloxetine with other antidepressants. However, when compared with escitalopram or venlafaxine, there was a higher rate of drop out due to any cause in the patients randomised to duloxetine (odds ratio (OR) 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 2.62 and OR 1.56; 95% CI 1.14 to 2.15, respectively). There was also some weak evidence suggesting that patients taking duloxetine experienced more adverse events than paroxetine (OR 1.24; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.55).
Duloxetine did not seem to provide a significant advantage in efficacy over other antidepressive agents for the acute-phase treatment of major depression. No differences in terms of efficacy were found, even though duloxetine was worse than some SSRIs (most of all, escitalopram) and newer antidepressants (like venlafaxine) in terms of acceptability and tolerability. Unfortunately, we only found evidence comparing duloxetine with a handful of other active antidepressive agents and only a few trials per comparison were found (in some cases we retrieved just one trial). This limited the power of the review to detect moderate, but clinically meaningful differences between the drugs. As many statistical tests have been used in the review, the findings from this review are better thought of as hypothesis forming rather than hypothesis testing and it would be very comforting to see the conclusions replicated in future trials. Most of included studies were sponsored by the drug industry manufacturing duloxetine. As for all other new investigational compounds, the potential for overestimation of treatment effect due to sponsorship bias should be borne in mind. In the present review no trials reported economic outcomes. Given that several SSRIs and the great majority of antidepressants are now available as generic formulation (only escitalopram, desvenlafaxine and duloxetine are still on patent), more comprehensive economic estimates of antidepressant treatment effect should be considered to better inform healthcare policy.

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To investigate the adverse effects of paroxetine in comparison with other anti-depressive agents. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Review Group's Specialized Register (CCDANCTR, to 30 September 2012), which includes relevant randomised controlled trials from the following bibliographic databases: The Cochrane Library (all years), EMBASE (1974 to date), MEDLINE (1950 to date) and PsycINFO (1967 to date). Reference lists of relevant papers and previous systematic reviews were handsearched. Pharmaceutical companies marketing paroxetine and experts in this field were contacted for supplemental data. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials allocating participants with major depression to paroxetine versus any other antidepressants (ADs), both conventional (such as TCAs, SSRIs) and newer or non-conventional (such as hypericum). For trials which had a cross-over design, only results from the first randomisation period were considered. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently checked eligibility and extracted data using a standard form. Data were then entered in RevMan 5.2 with a double-entry procedure. Information extracted included study and participant characteristics, intervention details, settings and efficacy, acceptability and tolerability measures. MAIN RESULTS: A total of 115 randomised controlled trials (26,134 participants) were included. In 54 studies paroxetine was compared with older ADs, in 21 studies with another SSRI, and in 40 studies with a newer or non-conventional antidepressant other than SSRIs. For the primary outcome (patients who responded to treatment), paroxetine was more effective than reboxetine at increasing patients who responded early to treatment (Odds Ratio (OR): 0.66, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.50 to 0.87, number needed to treat to provide benefit (NNTb) = 16, 95% CI 10 to 50, at one to four weeks, 3 RCTs, 1375 participants, moderate quality of evidence), and less effective than mirtazapine (OR: 2.39, 95% CI 1.42 to 4.02, NNTb = 8, 95% CI 5 to 14, at one to four weeks, 3 RCTs, 726 participants, moderate quality of evidence). Paroxetine was less effective than citalopram in improving response to treatment (OR: 1.54, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.28, NNTb = 9, 95% CI 5 to 102, at six to 12 weeks, 1 RCT, 406 participants, moderate quality of evidence). We found no clear evidence that paroxetine was more or less effective compared with other antidepressants at increasing response to treatment at acute (six to 12 weeks), early (one to four weeks), or longer term follow-up (four to six months). Paroxetine was associated with a lower rate of adverse events than amitriptyline, imipramine and older ADs as a class, but was less well tolerated than agomelatine and hypericum. Included studies were generally at unclear or high risk of bias due to poor reporting of allocation concealment and blinding of outcome assessment, and incomplete reporting of outcomes. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Some possibly clinically meaningful differences between paroxetine and other ADs exist, but no definitive conclusions can be drawn from these findings. In terms of response, there was a moderate quality of evidence that citalopram was better than paroxetine in the acute phase (six to 12 weeks), although only one study contributed data. 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