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Concept: Paroxetine


To reanalyse SmithKline Beecham’s Study 329 (published by Keller and colleagues in 2001), the primary objective of which was to compare the efficacy and safety of paroxetine and imipramine with placebo in the treatment of adolescents with unipolar major depression. The reanalysis under the restoring invisible and abandoned trials (RIAT) initiative was done to see whether access to and reanalysis of a full dataset from a randomised controlled trial would have clinically relevant implications for evidence based medicine.

Concepts: The Canon of Medicine, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Avicenna, Major depressive disorder, Paroxetine, GlaxoSmithKline, Beecham


The recent questioning of the antidepressant effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is partly based on the observation that approximately half of company-sponsored trials have failed to reveal a significant difference between active drug and placebo. Most of these have applied the Hamilton depression rating scale to assess symptom severity, the sum score for its 17 items (HDRS-17-sum) serving as effect parameter. In this study, we examined whether the negative outcomes of many SSRI trials may be partly caused by the use of this frequently questioned measure of response. We undertook patient-level post-hoc analyses of 18 industry-sponsored placebo-controlled trials regarding paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline or fluoxetine, and including in total 6669 adults with major depression, the aim being to assess what the outcome would have been if the single item depressed mood (rated 0-4) had been used as a measure of efficacy. In total, 32 drug-placebo comparisons were reassessed. While 18 out of 32 comparisons (56%) failed to separate active drug from placebo at week 6 with respect to reduction in HDRS-17-sum, only 3 out of 32 comparisons (9%) were negative when depressed mood was used as an effect parameter (P<0.001). The observation that 29 out of 32 comparisons detected an antidepressant signal from the tested SSRI suggests the effect of these drugs to be more consistent across trials than previously assumed. Further, the frequent use of the HDRS-17-sum as an effect parameter may have distorted the current view on the usefulness of SSRIs and hampered the development of novel antidepressants.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 28 April 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.53.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Venlafaxine


Current antidepressants used to treat pediatric patients have the disadvantage of limited efficacy and potentially serious side effects. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of vitamin C as an adjuvant agent in the treatment of pediatric major depressive disorder in a six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial.

Concepts: Serotonin, Citalopram, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Venlafaxine



The most efficacious treatments for social anxiety disorder (SAD) are the SSRIs and cognitive therapy (CT). Combined treatment is advocated for SAD but has not been evaluated in randomized trials using CT and SSRI. Our aim was to evaluate whether one treatment is more effective than the other and whether combined treatment is more effective than the single treatments.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Avoidant personality disorder, Personality disorder, Social anxiety disorder, Paroxetine


The role of serotonin in depression and antidepressant treatment remains unresolved despite decades of research. In this paper, we make three major claims. First, serotonin transmission is elevated in multiple depressive phenotypes, including melancholia, a subtype associated with sustained cognition. The primary challenge to this first claim is that the direct pharmacological effect of most symptom-reducing medications, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), is to increase synaptic serotonin. The second claim, which is crucial to resolving this paradox, is that the serotonergic system evolved to regulate energy. By increasing extracellular serotonin, SSRIs disrupt energy homeostasis and often worsen symptoms during acute treatment. Our third claim is that symptom reduction is not achieved by the direct pharmacological properties of SSRIs, but by the brain’s compensatory responses that attempt to restore energy homeostasis. These responses take several weeks to develop, which explains why SSRIs have a therapeutic delay. We demonstrate the utility of our claims by examining what happens in animal models of melancholia and during acute and chronic SSRI treatment.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine


p11, through unknown mechanisms, is required for behavioral and cellular responses to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). We show that SMARCA3, a chromatin-remodeling factor, is a target for the p11/annexin A2 heterotetrameric complex. Determination of the crystal structure indicates that SMARCA3 peptide binds to a hydrophobic pocket in the heterotetramer. Formation of this complex increases the DNA-binding affinity of SMARCA3 and its localization to the nuclear matrix fraction. In the dentate gyrus, both p11 and SMARCA3 are highly enriched in hilar mossy cells and basket cells. The SSRI fluoxetine induces expression of p11 in both cell types and increases the amount of the ternary complex of p11/annexin A2/SMARCA3. SSRI-induced neurogenesis and behavioral responses are abolished by constitutive knockout of SMARCA3. Our studies indicate a central role for a chromatin-remodeling factor in the SSRI/p11 signaling pathway and suggest an approach to the development of improved antidepressant therapies. PAPERCLIP:

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine


Background Whether the use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of congenital cardiac defects is uncertain. In particular, there are concerns about a possible association between paroxetine use and right ventricular outflow tract obstruction and between sertraline use and ventricular septal defects. Methods We performed a cohort study nested in the nationwide Medicaid Analytic eXtract for the period 2000 through 2007. The study included 949,504 pregnant women who were enrolled in Medicaid during the period from 3 months before the last menstrual period through 1 month after delivery and their liveborn infants. We compared the risk of major cardiac defects among infants born to women who took antidepressants during the first trimester with the risk among infants born to women who did not use antidepressants, with an unadjusted analysis and analyses that restricted the cohort to women with depression and that used propensity-score adjustment to control for depression severity and other potential confounders. Results A total of 64,389 women (6.8%) used antidepressants during the first trimester. Overall, 6403 infants who were not exposed to antidepressants were born with a cardiac defect (72.3 infants with a cardiac defect per 10,000 infants), as compared with 580 infants with exposure (90.1 per 10,000 infants). Associations between antidepressant use and cardiac defects were attenuated with increasing levels of adjustment for confounding. The relative risks of any cardiac defect with the use of SSRIs were 1.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13 to 1.38) in the unadjusted analysis, 1.12 (95% CI, 1.00 to 1.26) in the analysis restricted to women with depression, and 1.06 (95% CI, 0.93 to 1.22) in the fully adjusted analysis restricted to women with depression. We found no significant association between the use of paroxetine and right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (relative risk, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.93) or between the use of sertraline and ventricular septal defects (relative risk, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.76 to 1.41). Conclusions The results of this large, population-based cohort study suggested no substantial increase in the risk of cardiac malformations attributable to antidepressant use during the first trimester. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health.).

Concepts: Cohort study, Pregnancy, Relative risk, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine


OBJECTIVES:Recent data showing possible increased risk for suicidal behavior among children and adolescents treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) antidepressants have created significant concern among patients, families, and providers, including concerns about the risk of individual antidepressants. This study was designed to compare the risk for medically treated suicide attempts among new users of sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, and venlafaxine to risk for new users of fluoxetine.METHODS:A retrospective cohort study included 36 842 children aged 6 to 18 years enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid between 1995 and 2006 who were new users of 1 of the antidepressant medications of interest (defined as filling no prescriptions for antidepressants in the preceding 365 days). Medically treated suicide attempts were identified from Medicaid files and vital records and confirmed with medical record review.RESULTS:Four hundred nineteen cohort members had a medically treated suicide attempt with explicit or inferred attempt to die confirmed through medical record review, including 4 who completed suicide. The rate of confirmed suicide attempts for the study drugs ranged from 24.0 per 1000 person-years to 29.1 per 1000 person-years. The adjusted rate of suicide attempts did not differ significantly among current users of SSRI and SNRI antidepressants compared with current users of fluoxetine. Users of multiple antidepressants concomitantly had increased risk for suicide attempt.CONCLUSIONS:In this population-based study of children recently initiating an antidepressant, there was no evidence that risk of suicide attempts differed for commonly prescribed SSRI and SNRI antidepressants.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Venlafaxine


Most adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) will not experience a remission with the first antidepressant trial. No practical biomarkers presently exist to predict responsiveness to antidepressants. Herein we report pilot data for a rest-activity biomarker of antidepressant response. Fifty-eight medication-free adults with MDD underwent a week-long collection of actigraphic data before beginning a 9 week open label trial of fluoxetine, coupled with blinded randomized assignment to eszopiclone/placebo. Depression severity was repeatedly measured with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD). Baseline actigraphic data was analyzed with functional data analysis to create smoothed 24-h curves of activity. The time of the lowest point of activity (the bathyphase) was calculated for each patient, as well the mean difference between bedtime and the bathyphase (BBD). At the end of treatment, patients were characterized as treatment responders (50% reduction in HRSD) or non-responders, and receiver operating curves were calculated to find the optimal cut point of the BBD for prediction of treatment response. The best cut point for BBD was at 260.2 min, resulting in an effect size of 1.45, and with a positive predictive value of 0.75 and a negative predictive value of 0.88. We conclude that actigraphically-determined measures of rest-activity patterns show promise as potential biomarker predictors of antidepressant response. However, this conclusion is based upon a small number of patients who received only one choice of antidepressant, for a single trial. Replication with a larger sample is needed.

Concepts: Serotonin, Citalopram, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Venlafaxine