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OBJECTIVE: The role of baseline severity as effect modifier in various psychiatric disorders is a topic of controversy and of clinical import. This study aims to examine whether baseline severity modifies the efficacy of various antidepressants for major depression through individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis. METHOD: We identified all placebo-controlled, double-blind randomised trials of new generation antidepressants in the acute phase treatment of major depression conducted in Japan and requested their IPD through the public-private partnerships (PPPs) between the relevant academic societies and the pharmaceutical companies. The effect modification by baseline depression severity was examined through six increasingly complex competing mixed-effects models for repeated measures. RESULTS: We identified eleven eligible trials and obtained IPD from six, which compared duloxetine, escitalopram, mirtazapine, paroxetine or bupropion against placebo (total n = 2464). The best-fitting model revealed that the interaction between baseline severity and treatment was not statistically significant (coefficient = -0.04, 95% confidence interval: -0.16 to 0.08, P = 0.49). Several sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the findings. CONCLUSION: We may expect as much benefit from antidepressant treatments for mild, moderate or severe major depression. Clinical practice guidelines will need to take these findings into consideration.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/acps.12886

Type

Journal article

Journal

Acta Psychiatr Scand

Publication Date

06/2018

Volume

137

Pages

450 - 458

Keywords

antidepressives, depression, meta-analysis