Antidepressant studies in Parkinson's disease: a review and meta-analysis

Mov Disord. 2005 Sep;20(9):1161-9. doi: 10.1002/mds.20555.


The objective of this study was to determine effect sizes for both antidepressant treatment and placebo for depression in Parkinson's disease (PD), and to compare the findings with those reported in elderly depressed patients without PD. Recent reviews have concluded that there is little empiric evidence to support the use of antidepressants in PD; however, available data has not been analyzed to determine the effect size for antidepressant treatment in PD depression. A literature review identified antidepressant studies in PD. Suitable studies were analyzed using meta-analytic techniques, and effect sizes were compared with those from antidepressant studies in elderly patients without PD. Large effect sizes were found for both active treatment and placebo in PD, but there was no difference between the two groups. In contrast, active treatment was superior to placebo in depressed elderly patients without PD. In PD, increasing age and a diagnosis of major depression were associated with better treatment response. Results also suggest that newer antidepressants are well tolerated in PD. Despite the high prevalence of depression and antidepressant use in PD, controlled treatment research has been almost nonexistent. Meta-analysis results suggest a large but nonspecific effect for depression treatment in PD. In addition, PD patients may benefit less from antidepressant treatment, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, than do elderly patients without PD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*


  • Antidepressive Agents