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Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Aug 1;52(3):265-84.

Drug and ECT treatment of depression in the elderly, 1996-2001: a literature review.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston 02115, USA.


A computer-based literature search of all antidepressant and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment studies published between 1995 and September 2001 was conducted. In addition, a review of published chapters, review articles, and metaanalyses was also conducted. Articles were categorized into those reporting comparative studies, those in which the therapeutic agent was not compared with another, articles about ECT, and review articles. These recent publications support the conclusions from prior reviews that antidepressants and ECT are effective and safe treatments for depressed elderly patients. Differences in efficacy and side effects appear to be slight among the various types of antidepressants. Research studies of depressed elderly increased markedly since 1995 compared with all previous years although more studies are still necessary.

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