Newer antidepressants effective and safe in Parkinson’s disease

The US trial suggested SSRIs and serotonin-noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors did not have the adverse event profile of tricyclics including cardiac, autonomic and anticholinergic side-effects.

Earlier studies had found SSRIs can worsen Parkinsonian motor features and some were not well tolerated.

Researchers monitored 115 patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and a major depressive disorder in the largest randomised controlled trial to date to evaluate commonly used antidepressants in such patients.

One third of the patients received paroxetine, one third received venlafaxine and the others were given placebo.

According to the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), patients receiving paroxetine improved by 59%, venlafaxine  improved by 52% and the placebo group had 32% improvement. Three other depression scales gave similar results.

Adverse events were common in all three groups but most were not serious.