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Antidepressants: Benefit of SNRI is proven
Date:8/25/2009

The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) was commissioned by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) to investigate whether patients with depression benefit from taking drugs belonging to the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drug class. Up till now, 2 of these drugs have been approved as antidepressants in Germany: venlafaxine and duloxetine. The Institute published its final report on 18 August. According to this report, the benefit of both drugs has been proven compared to a sham drug (placebo): patients respond better to the therapy and suffer less from the symptoms of depression. Moreover, there are indications that both drugs protect against relapse in addition to alleviating symptoms.

Interplay of biological and psycho-social factors

There are various assumptions about when and how depression occurs. The possible causes and influencing factors are manifold. What is not disputed is that the complete clinical picture of depression is the result of a complex interplay of biological and psycho-social factors. There are indications that a modification or reduction in the transfer of certain messenger substances in the central nervous system plays a part. This is where most drug therapies start their effect. The comparatively new SNRI drug class is intended to influence two of these messenger substances (neurotransmitters) by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Manufacturers provide unpublished data

IQWiG and its external experts found a total of 80 clinical trials that could be included in the assessment. Sixteen compared duloxetine (manufacturer: Lilly) with a sham drug or another antidepressant, 62 tested venlafaxine (manufacturer: Wyeth) in the same way, 2 trials compared the 2 drugs directly with each other. The manufacturers of both the drugs investigated (Lilly and Wyeth) provided a great deal of unpublished data.

In these trials
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Contact: Dr. Anna-Sabine Ernst
info@iqwig.de
49-022-135-6850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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