Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Double-blind, randomised controlled trials (RCTs), which compared the antidepressant effect of alprazolam to that of a standard antidepressant, were included if they measured the severity of depression with a standard scale and presented the means of the end point scores. The duration of the studies was between 4 and 6 weeks.
Specific interventions included in the review
Alprazolam in dosages ranging from 1.80 to 4.60 mg/day (mean dose: 3.15 mg/day). The standard antidepressants were all tricyclic antidepressants (not named) in doses ranging from 63.8 to 229.8 mg/day (mean dose: 147.17 mg/day).
Participants included in the review
Patients with depression (without anxiety disorder) as defined in the studies. Both in- and out-patients were included. The individual studies included patients with minimum scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) ranging from 6 to 21.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The effect of treatment in each group was determined by the scores on the 17- or 21-item HRSD.
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 authors performed the selection.