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Review: antidepressants plus benzodiazepines lead to fewer drop outs and less depression severity in major depression

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 QUESTION: In adults with major depression, does combination treatment with antidepressants and benzodiazepines lead to short term (< 8 wk) or long term (> 2 mo) symptomatic recovery or side effects?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Biological Abstracts, LILACS, PsycLIT, the Cochrane Library, and the trial register of the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety, and Neurosis Group (January 1972 to December 1998); hand searching major mental health and general medicine journals; scanning thereference lists of identified articles; checking SciSearch; and making personal contacts.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials comparing combined antidepressantbenzodiazepine treatment with antidepressants alone in adults with major depression. Studies were excluded if the antidepressant dose was < 100 mg of imipramine, or its equivalent daily, or the duration of the trial was < 4 weeks.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient …

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  • Source of funding: Ministry of Health and Welfare, Japan and Uehara Memorial Foundation, Japan.

  • For correspondence: Professor T A Furukawa, Department of Psychiatry, Nagoya City University Medical School, Mizuho-cho Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan. Fax +8 52 852 0837.

  • Abstract and commentary also appear in Evidence-Based Mental Health.