Sertraline for the treatment of depression in parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Dr. Robert A. Hauser,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
    • Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, 4 Columbia Drive, Suite 410, Tampa, FL 33606, U.S.A.
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  • Theresa A. Zesiewicz

    1. Department of Neurology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
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Abstract

Although antidepressant medications are commonly used to treat depression in Parkinson's disease (PD), little information is available regarding their safety and efficacy in this condition. Sertraline is a relatively selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor with some dopamine reuptake inhibitor activity. It has a favorable tolerability profile, especially in the elderly. We undertook an open-label pilot evaluation of the safety and efficacy of sertraline to treat depression in PD. A total of 15 patients with PD and depression participated in the study. Sertraline was introduced at a daily dose of 25 mg for 1 week and then increased to 50 mg/day. Patients underwent evaluation at baseline and at a final visit ˜7 weeks later. Sertraline was generally well tolerated, but five patients experienced side effects, and two discontinued medication. Patients taking selegiline experienced more adverse effects. Beck Depression Inventory scores improved significantly (mean plusmn; SE = 16.0 plusmn; 2.0 vs 11.7 plusmn; 1.9, p = 0.03), and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and energy-level scores were unchanged. These results suggest that sertraline may be a useful treatment for depression in PD. As substantial placebo effects can occur in studies of PD and depression, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are warranted.

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