Newer antidepressants and panic disorder: a meta-analysis

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Abstract

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and venlafaxine are currently considered as first-line agents for patients with panic disorder (PD). However, a systematic comparison of newer antidepressants for the treatment of PD is lacking thus far. Eligible studies focusing on PD patients treated with newer antidepressants were entered in the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager. Our primary outcome measure was the mean change in panic symptoms from the baseline to the endpoint in patients treated with antidepressants as compared with those treated with placebo. Secondary outcome measures included the mean change in the overall anxiety scores and dropout rates. Sensitivity analyses were also carried out. Fifty studies focusing on 5236 patients were included. The following antidepressants were significantly superior to placebo for PD patients with the following increasing order of effectiveness: citalopram, sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine for panic symptoms and paroxetine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram, venlafaxine, and mirtazapine for overall anxiety symptoms. Aside from reboxetine and fluvoxamine, all drugs were associated with significantly lower dropout rates as compared with placebo. Several clinical variables moderated clinical outcomes. However, because of some inconsistencies across the studies and limited evidence for some drugs under investigation, further head-to-head comparisons are required.

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