Newer antidepressants equally effective in treating major depressive disorder

Research Activities, February 2012, No. 378

A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 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 updated evidence review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, 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.

The report 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. It 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.

You can view this report and other publications at AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site.

Current as of February 2012
Internet Citation: Newer antidepressants equally effective in treating major depressive disorder: Research Activities, February 2012, No. 378. February 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/feb12/0212RA5.html