Study designs of evaluations included in the review
RCTs comparing two different doses of the same drug, with a duration of at least three weeks and more than five patients per treatment arm.
Specific interventions included in the review
Trycyclics (imipramine, clomipramine); tetracyclics (maprotiline); SSRIs (fluoxetine, citalopram, fluvoxamine, minalcipram, sertraline, paroxetine, venlafaxine); MAOIs (isocarboxazid, phenelzine, moclobemide); atypical antidepressants (bupropion, nefazodone, minaprine, rolipram).
Participants included in the review
People with a diagnosis of depression. Of 33 included studies, 25 treated severely depressed patients (diagnosed as having major affective disorder, major depression, endogenous depression or bipolar affective disorder). Two studies had a non-specific diagnosis (eg. depressed mood) and six treated both major and minor depression. Average age ranged from 35 - 54 years (total range 18-89).
Outcomes assessed in the review
Number of patients clinically improved (signified either by a reduction of >50% of total score of Hamilton Rating Scake for Depression (HRSD), by marked- moderate improvement on Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) or by lack of relapse of depressive episode). Where a paper reported results from more than one scale, only data from the first scale mentioned in the results section were retained. The second outcome measured was the total number of side effects of any type.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors do not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many of the reviewers performed the selection.