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      Duloxetine versus other anti-depressive agents for depression

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          Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, in primary and secondary care settings antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. Amongst antidepressants many different agents are available. Duloxetine hydrochloride is a dual reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine and has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in the US for major depressive disorder (MDD), generalised anxiety disorder, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic musculoskeletal pain. To assess the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of duloxetine in comparison with all other antidepressant agents in the acute-phase treatment of major depression. MEDLINE (1966 to 2012), EMBASE (1974 to 2012), the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials up to March 2012. No language restriction was applied. Reference lists of relevant papers and previous systematic reviews were hand-searched. Pharmaceutical company marketing duloxetine and experts in this field were contacted for supplemental data. Randomised controlled trials allocating patients with major depression to duloxetine versus any other antidepressive agent. Two review authors independently extracted data and a double-entry procedure was employed. Information extracted included study characteristics, participant characteristics, intervention details and outcome measures in terms of efficacy, acceptability and tolerability. A total of 16 randomised controlled trials (overall 5735 participants) were included in this systematic review. Of these, three trials were unpublished. We found 11 studies (overall 3304 participants) comparing duloxetine with one selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) (six studies versus paroxetine, three studies versus escitalopram and two versus fluoxetine), four studies (overall 1978 participants) comparing duloxetine with a newer antidepressants (three with venlafaxine and one with desvenlafaxine, respectively) and one study (overall 453 participants) comparing duloxetine with an antipsychotic drug which is also used as an antidepressive agent, quetiapine. No studies were found comparing duloxetine with tricyclic antidepressants. The pooled confidence intervals were rather wide and there were no statistically significant differences in efficacy when comparing duloxetine with other antidepressants. However, when compared with escitalopram or venlafaxine, there was a higher rate of drop out due to any cause in the patients randomised to duloxetine (odds ratio (OR) 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 2.62 and OR 1.56; 95% CI 1.14 to 2.15, respectively). There was also some weak evidence suggesting that patients taking duloxetine experienced more adverse events than paroxetine (OR 1.24; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.55). Duloxetine did not seem to provide a significant advantage in efficacy over other antidepressive agents for the acute-phase treatment of major depression. No differences in terms of efficacy were found, even though duloxetine was worse than some SSRIs (most of all, escitalopram) and newer antidepressants (like venlafaxine) in terms of acceptability and tolerability. Unfortunately, we only found evidence comparing duloxetine with a handful of other active antidepressive agents and only a few trials per comparison were found (in some cases we retrieved just one trial). This limited the power of the review to detect moderate, but clinically meaningful differences between the drugs. As many statistical tests have been used in the review, the findings from this review are better thought of as hypothesis forming rather than hypothesis testing and it would be very comforting to see the conclusions replicated in future trials. Most of included studies were sponsored by the drug industry manufacturing duloxetine. As for all other new investigational compounds, the potential for overestimation of treatment effect due to sponsorship bias should be borne in mind. In the present review no trials reported economic outcomes. Given that several SSRIs and the great majority of antidepressants are now available as generic formulation (only escitalopram, desvenlafaxine and duloxetine are still on patent), more comprehensive economic estimates of antidepressant treatment effect should be considered to better inform healthcare policy.

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          Most cited references 60

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          Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review.

          To investigate whether funding of drug studies by the pharmaceutical industry is associated with outcomes that are favourable to the funder and whether the methods of trials funded by pharmaceutical companies differ from the methods in trials with other sources of support. Medline (January 1966 to December 2002) and Embase (January 1980 to December 2002) searches were supplemented with material identified in the references and in the authors' personal files. Data were independently abstracted by three of the authors and disagreements were resolved by consensus. 30 studies were included. Research funded by drug companies was less likely to be published than research funded by other sources. Studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to have outcomes favouring the sponsor than were studies with other sponsors (odds ratio 4.05; 95% confidence interval 2.98 to 5.51; 18 comparisons). None of the 13 studies that analysed methods reported that studies funded by industry was of poorer quality. Systematic bias favours products which are made by the company funding the research. Explanations include the selection of an inappropriate comparator to the product being investigated and publication bias.
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            Global assessment of functioning. A modified scale.

             Richard Hall (1995)
            The modified Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale has more detailed criteria and a more structured scoring system than the original GAF. The two scales were compared for reliability and validity. Raters who had different training levels assigned hospital admission and discharge GAF scores from patient charts. Intraclass correlation coefficients for admission GAF scores were higher for raters who used the modified GAF (0.81), compared with raters who used the original GAF (0.62). Validity studies showed a high correlation (0.80) between the two sets of scores. The modified GAF also correlated well with Zung Depression scores (-0.73). The modified GAF may be particularly useful when interrater reliability needs to be maximum and/or when persons with varying skills and employment backgrounds--and without much GAF training--must rate patients. Because of the increased structure, the modified GAF may also be more resistant to rater bias.
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              Association of funding and conclusions in randomized drug trials: a reflection of treatment effect or adverse events?

              Previous studies indicate that industry-sponsored trials tend to draw proindustry conclusions. To explore whether the association between funding and conclusions in randomized drug trials reflects treatment effects or adverse events. Observational study of 370 randomized drug trials included in meta-analyses from Cochrane reviews selected from the Cochrane Library, May 2001. From a random sample of 167 Cochrane reviews, 25 contained eligible meta-analyses (assessed a binary outcome; pooled at least 5 full-paper trials of which at least 1 reported adequate and 1 reported inadequate allocation concealment). The primary binary outcome from each meta-analysis was considered the primary outcome for all trials included in each meta-analysis. The association between funding and conclusions was analyzed by logistic regression with adjustment for treatment effect, adverse events, and additional confounding factors (methodological quality, control intervention, sample size, publication year, and place of publication). Conclusions in trials, classified into whether the experimental drug was recommended as the treatment of choice or not. The experimental drug was recommended as treatment of choice in 16% of trials funded by nonprofit organizations, 30% of trials not reporting funding, 35% of trials funded by both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and 51% of trials funded by for-profit organizations (P<.001; chi2 test). Logistic regression analyses indicated that funding, treatment effect, and double blinding were the only significant predictors of conclusions. Adjusted analyses showed that trials funded by for-profit organizations were significantly more likely to recommend the experimental drug as treatment of choice (odds ratio, 5.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-14.4) compared with trials funded by nonprofit organizations. This association did not appear to reflect treatment effect or adverse events. Conclusions in trials funded by for-profit organizations may be more positive due to biased interpretation of trial results. Readers should carefully evaluate whether conclusions in randomized trials are supported by data.

                Author and article information

                Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
                October 17 2012
                [1 ]University of Verona; Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry; Policlinico "G.B.Rossi" Piazzale L.A. Scuro, 10 Verona Italy 37134
                [2 ]Ulm University; Department of Psychiatry ll; Ludwig-Heilmeyer-Str. 2 Guenzburg Germany D-89312
                [3 ]Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine / School of Public Health; Department of Health Promotion and Human Behavior; Yoshida Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto Japan 601-8501
                [4 ]University of Verona; Department of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Psychiatry; Policlinico "G.B.Rossi" Pzz.le L.A. Scuro, 10 Verona Italy 37134
                [5 ]Toyokawa City Hospital; Department of Psychiatry; Koumei 1-19 Toyokawa Aichi Japan 442-8561
                © 2012


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