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Open Access Research article

Efficacy and acceptability of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for the treatment of depression in Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Petros Skapinakis12*, Eleni Bakola1, Georgia Salanti3, Glyn Lewis2, Athanasios P Kyritsis4 and Venetsanos Mavreas1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina 45110, Greece

2 Academic Unit of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Cotham House, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS66JL, UK

3 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina 45110, Greece

4 Department of Neurology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina 45110, Greece

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BMC Neurology 2010, 10:49  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-49

Published: 21 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants for the treatment of depression in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) but data on their efficacy are controversial.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to investigate the efficacy and acceptability of SSRIs in the treatment of depression in PD.

Results

Ten studies were included. In the comparison between SSRIs and Placebo (n = 6 studies), the combined risk ratio (random effects) was 1.08 (95% confidence interval: 0.77 - 1.55, p = 0.67). In the comparison between SSRIs and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) (n = 3 studies) the combined risk ratio was 0.75 (0.39 - 1.42, p = 0.37). An acceptability analysis showed that SSRIs were generally well tolerated.

Conclusions

These results suggest that there is insufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis of no differences in efficacy between SSRIs and placebo in the treatment of depression in PD. Due to the limited number of studies and the small sample sizes a type II error (false negative) cannot be excluded. The comparison between SSRIs and TCAs is based on only three studies and further trials with more pragmatic design are needed.