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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 Feb;18(2):122-7. Epub 2007 Aug 27.

A meta-analysis of clinical trials comparing reboxetine, a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for the treatment of major depressive disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 15 Parkman Street, WAC 812 Boston, MA 02114, USA.


The goal of the present work was to conduct a meta-analysis comparing reboxetine and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for major depressive disorder (MDD). Medline/Pubmed was searched for double-blind, randomized trials comparing these two agents for MDD. The makers of reboxetine (Pfizer Inc.) were also contacted to provide missing data and/or unpublished studies. 9 trials (n=2641) were combined using a random effects model. Response rates were comparable between the SSRI (63.9%) and reboxetine (59.2%)-treated groups (p=0.118). There was no significant difference in the degree of improvement in psychosocial functioning, as measured by the social adaptation self-evaluation scale, between the two groups. Overall discontinuation rates (25.1% versus 32.0%; p=0.015), and the rate of discontinuation due to intolerance (8.5% versus 12.6%; p=0.007) favored SSRI treatment. The rate of discontinuation due to lack of efficacy did not differ significantly between the two groups. SSRI-treated patients were more likely to experience nausea, hypersomnia, and fatigue. Reboxetine-treated patients were more likely to experience constipation, difficulty urinating, and insomnia. These results suggest that the NRI reboxetine and the SSRIs differ with respect to their side-effect profile and overall tolerability but not their efficacy in treating MDD.

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