Saturday, March 21, 2009

Older drug seen better for Parkinson's depression

People with Parkinson's disease who need treatment for depression seem to do better with an older antidepressant than a newer agent, according to a small clinical trial.

"Individuals with depression and Parkinson's disease do respond to antidepressants," Dr. Matthew Menza told Reuters Health. "This is important because depression in Parkinson's disease is often under-recognized, under-appreciated and under-treated. Commonly, the attitude is, 'of course you're depressed, you have a serious illness.' We have now demonstrated that one should be hopeful that treatment will help."

There have been few head-to-head trials of different antidepressants for Parkinson's patients with depression, Menza, of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey, and his group note in the medical journal Neurology.

To investigate, they compared the older "tricyclic" antidepressant nortriptyline with the newer "SSRI" agent paroxetine in 52 people with Parkinson's disease diagnosed with major depression. Nortriptyline is available in generic form and under the brand name Pamelor, and paroxetine CR is known by the brand names Paxil and Seroxat.


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