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Review: antidepressants are effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder in individuals aged 55 years or older

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Questtion: What is the efficacy of antidepressants for the treatment of late life major depressive disorder (MDD)?

Outcomes: Clinical response, defined as a 50% or greater reduction in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) or the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores, from baseline to endpoint, or a Clinical Global Impression-Improvement Scale (CGI-I) score <3 at the final visit.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: PubMed/Medline was searched from 1 January 1980 to 3 March 2010. The search included antidepressants that had received a letter of approval by the USA, Canadian<EU, Japanese or Australian regulatory agencies for treatment of MDD.

Study selection and analysis: Double-blind, placebo controlled, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of oral antidepressants used as monotherapy for the treatment of MDD in participants less than 65 years (adult MDD) or 55 years or older (late life MDD). RCTs had to be of a parallel design (crossover studies were excluded) and be at least 4 weeks long. Participants had to have MDD diagnosed according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III or IV criteria, Research Diagnostic Criteria or Feighner diagnostic criteria. Participants had to be free …

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  • Sources of funding None reported.


  • Competing interests None.