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Antidepressants in children and adolescents: meta-review of efficacy, tolerability and suicidality in acute treatment

Antidepressants in children and adolescents: meta-review of efficacy, tolerability and suicidality in acute treatment
Antidepressants in children and adolescents: meta-review of efficacy, tolerability and suicidality in acute treatment
Antidepressants are prescribed for the treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, however there is still controversy about whether they should be used in this population. This meta-review aimed to assess the effects of antidepressants for the acute treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders (ADs), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), enuresis, major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. Efficacy was measured as response to treatment (either as mean overall change in symptoms or as a dichotomous outcome) and tolerability was measured as the proportion of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse events. Suicidality was measured as suicidal ideation, behavior (including suicide attempts) and completed suicide. PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science were systematically searched (until 31 October 2019) for existing systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses of double-blind randomized controlled trials. The quality of the included reviews was appraised using AMSTAR-2. Our meta-review included nine systematic reviews/meta-analyses (2 on ADHD; 1 on AD; 2 on ASD; 1 on enuresis; 1 on MDD, 1 on OCD and 1 on PTSD). In terms of efficacy this review found that, compared to placebo: fluoxetine was more efficacious in the treatment of MDD, fluvoxamine and paroxetine were better in the treatment of AD; fluoxetine and sertraline were more efficacious in the treatment of OCD; bupropion and desipramine improved clinician and teacher-rated ADHD symptoms; clomipramine and tianeptine were superior on some of the core symptoms of ASD; and no antidepressant was more efficacious for PTSD and enuresis. With regard to tolerability: imipramine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine were less well tolerated in MDD; no differences were found for any of the antidepressants in the treatment of anxiety disorders (ADs), ADHD, and PTSD; tianeptine and citalopram, but not clomipramine, were less well tolerated in children and adolescents with ASD. For suicidal behavior/ideation, venlafaxine (in MDD) and paroxetine (in AD) were associated with a significantly increased risk; by contrast, sertraline (in AD) was associated with a reduced risk. The majority of included systematic reviews/meta-analyses were rated as being of high or moderate in quality by the AMSTAR-2 critical appraisal tool (one and five, respectively). One included study was of low quality and two were of critically low quality. Compared to placebo, selected antidepressants can be efficacious in the acute treatment of some common psychiatric disorders, although statistically significant differences do not always translate into clinically significant results. Little information was available about tolerability of antidepressants in RCTs of OCD and in the treatment of ADHD, ASD, MDD, and PTSD. There is a paucity of data on suicidal ideation/behavior, but paroxetine may increase the risk of suicidality in the treatment of AD and venlafaxine for MDD. Findings from this review must be considered in light of potential limitations, such as the lack of comparative information about many antidepressants, the short-term outcomes and the quality of the available evidence
1664-0640
Boaden, Katharine
82719abe-b43e-4ead-a90f-6d66fa6e92cf
Tomlinson, Anneka
80f29c9c-02ce-4919-b095-32ae5e88bf05
Cortese, Samuele
53d4bf2c-4e0e-4c77-9385-218350560fdb
Cipriani, Andrea
5f3097c8-4901-4a9b-b371-d17aeac9b686
Boaden, Katharine
82719abe-b43e-4ead-a90f-6d66fa6e92cf
Tomlinson, Anneka
80f29c9c-02ce-4919-b095-32ae5e88bf05
Cortese, Samuele
53d4bf2c-4e0e-4c77-9385-218350560fdb
Cipriani, Andrea
5f3097c8-4901-4a9b-b371-d17aeac9b686

Boaden, Katharine, Tomlinson, Anneka, Cortese, Samuele and Cipriani, Andrea (2020) Antidepressants in children and adolescents: meta-review of efficacy, tolerability and suicidality in acute treatment. Frontiers in Psychiatry. (doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00717).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Antidepressants are prescribed for the treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, however there is still controversy about whether they should be used in this population. This meta-review aimed to assess the effects of antidepressants for the acute treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders (ADs), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), enuresis, major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. Efficacy was measured as response to treatment (either as mean overall change in symptoms or as a dichotomous outcome) and tolerability was measured as the proportion of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse events. Suicidality was measured as suicidal ideation, behavior (including suicide attempts) and completed suicide. PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science were systematically searched (until 31 October 2019) for existing systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses of double-blind randomized controlled trials. The quality of the included reviews was appraised using AMSTAR-2. Our meta-review included nine systematic reviews/meta-analyses (2 on ADHD; 1 on AD; 2 on ASD; 1 on enuresis; 1 on MDD, 1 on OCD and 1 on PTSD). In terms of efficacy this review found that, compared to placebo: fluoxetine was more efficacious in the treatment of MDD, fluvoxamine and paroxetine were better in the treatment of AD; fluoxetine and sertraline were more efficacious in the treatment of OCD; bupropion and desipramine improved clinician and teacher-rated ADHD symptoms; clomipramine and tianeptine were superior on some of the core symptoms of ASD; and no antidepressant was more efficacious for PTSD and enuresis. With regard to tolerability: imipramine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine were less well tolerated in MDD; no differences were found for any of the antidepressants in the treatment of anxiety disorders (ADs), ADHD, and PTSD; tianeptine and citalopram, but not clomipramine, were less well tolerated in children and adolescents with ASD. For suicidal behavior/ideation, venlafaxine (in MDD) and paroxetine (in AD) were associated with a significantly increased risk; by contrast, sertraline (in AD) was associated with a reduced risk. The majority of included systematic reviews/meta-analyses were rated as being of high or moderate in quality by the AMSTAR-2 critical appraisal tool (one and five, respectively). One included study was of low quality and two were of critically low quality. Compared to placebo, selected antidepressants can be efficacious in the acute treatment of some common psychiatric disorders, although statistically significant differences do not always translate into clinically significant results. Little information was available about tolerability of antidepressants in RCTs of OCD and in the treatment of ADHD, ASD, MDD, and PTSD. There is a paucity of data on suicidal ideation/behavior, but paroxetine may increase the risk of suicidality in the treatment of AD and venlafaxine for MDD. Findings from this review must be considered in light of potential limitations, such as the lack of comparative information about many antidepressants, the short-term outcomes and the quality of the available evidence

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 September 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 443170
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/443170
ISSN: 1664-0640
PURE UUID: 4beb3713-d506-449f-b04f-9b43f2e58b81
ORCID for Samuele Cortese: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5877-8075

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Date deposited: 13 Aug 2020 16:37
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:10

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Contributors

Author: Katharine Boaden
Author: Anneka Tomlinson
Author: Samuele Cortese ORCID iD
Author: Andrea Cipriani

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