Newer antidepressants equally effective in treating major depressive disorder

Research Activities, August 2012, No. 384

An updated evidence review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program reinforces previous findings that second-generation antidepressants are equally effective in treating major depressive disorder and its symptoms. There is no evidence to support choosing one antidepressant over another based on either greater efficacy or effectiveness. Although second-generation antidepressants are similar in efficacy, they cannot be considered identical drugs. Evidence supports some differences among individual drugs with respect to onset of action, side effects, and some measures of health-related quality of life.

The new report, Comparative Effectiveness of Second-Generation Antidepressants in the Pharmacologic Treatment of Adult Depression—An Update to a 2007 Report, reviews the evidence on 13 second-generation antidepressants—bupropion, citalopram, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone, and venlafaxine. It updates current evidence on the comparative efficacy, benefits, and harms of second-generation therapies in treating patients with major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and subsyndromal depression.

The report also highlights areas for future research, including the need for research on the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants in subpopulations and in patients who have not responded to initial treatments. Read and download the full review and other publications from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

Current as of August 2012
Internet Citation: Newer antidepressants equally effective in treating major depressive disorder: Research Activities, August 2012, No. 384. August 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/aug12/0812RA17.html