Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of elderly depressed patients: A qualitative analysis of the literature on their efficacy and side-effects

J. E.A. Menting, A. Honig, F. R.J. Verhey, M. Hartmans, N. Rozendaal, H. C.W. De Vet, H. M. Van Praag

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A qualitative analysis of studies on the efficacy and side-effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the treatment of elderly people with depression is presented. Only placebo-controlled or comparison studies of SSRI versus other antidepressants were included. The description and methodological quality of the analysed studies were important criteria in the outcome of the analysis. Quality was assessed by means of a blinded review approach. After excluding duplicate publications, 16 studies were analysed, of which six turned out to be of good quality. The results indicated that at the end of the treatment periods (4-8 weeks) all antidepressants were equally effective. Side-effects occurred less frequently with SSRIs than with tricyclics (TCAs), and different side-effect profiles were found. Significantly fewer SSRI-treated patients than TCA-treated patients dropped out both overall and due to side-effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 1996


  • Depression
  • Efficacy
  • Elderly
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Tolerance
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

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