• depression;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • antidepressant treatment;
  • serotonin;
  • norepinephrine


Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disturbances in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent reviews have highlighted the lack of controlled trials and the ensuing difficulty in formulating recommendations for antidepressant use in PD. We sought to establish whether antidepressants provide real benefits and whether tricyclic and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants differ in their short-term efficacy, because the time to onset of therapeutic benefit remains an important criterion in depression. The short-term efficacy (after 14 and 30 days) of two antidepressants (desipramine, a predominantly noradrenergic reuptake inhibitor tricyclic and citalopram, a SSRI) was assessed in a double-blind, randomized, placebo- controlled study of 48 nondemented PD patients suffering from major depression. After 14 days, desipramine prompted an improvement in the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, compared with citalopram and placebo. Both antidepressants produced significant improvements in the MADRS score after 30 days. Mild adverse events were twice as frequent in the desipramine group as in the other groups. A predominantly noradrenergic tricyclic antidepressant induced a more intense short-term effect on parkinsonian depression than did an SSRI. However, desipramine's lower tolerability may outweigh its slight short-term clinical advantage. © 2008 Movement Disorder Society