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Review: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors differ from tricyclic antidepressants in adverse events
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Objective

To compare the efficacy, completion rates, and adverse event rates of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in treating depression.

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Pascal, Health Planning & Administration, Mental Health Abstracts, PharmacoEconomics & Outcomes News, and Current Contents databases (1980 to May 1996); scanning bibliographies of retrieved articles; hand searching journals; and consulting researchers.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were double blind, randomised controlled trials, used antidepressant treatment for 4–12 weeks, and reported numerical or graphical data. Studies were excluded if they reanalysed data from previous studies.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on efficacy, study completion, and adverse events.

Main results

162 randomised controlled trials were reviewed. SSRIs and TCAs were equally effective and the study completion rates did not differ. 7 adverse events increased and 3 decreased for SSRIs compared with TCAs (table). There were …

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