Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Parallel-group randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for the review. In only 3 studies did the duration of follow-up exceed 26 weeks.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies comparing an SSRI antidepressant with either placebo, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or another active treatment were eligible.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients at high risk for cardiovascular AEs (including patients with cardiac diseases, diabetes mellitus, stroke, geriatric age, Alzheimer's disease, nicotine dependence, alcoholism, human immunodeficiency virus infection, obesity or metabolic syndrome) were eligible. The mean age of the
participants in the included studies was 58 years (range: 29.8 to 70.3).
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies with follow-up periods of at least 1 week, evaluating any cardiovascular AE, were considered for the review. AEs were divided into serious cardiovascular AEs (i.e. death due to a cardiovascular cause, heart failure, transient ischaemic attack, stroke and myocardial infarction) and non-serious cardiovascular
AEs (i.e. palpitations, chest pain, angina, arrhythmia, hypertension or hypotension-syncope, and unspecified cardiovascular or neurological events).
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two reviewers independently selected the studies, with any disagreements resolved through discussion with a third reviewer.