Response to acute monotherapy for major depressive disorder in randomized, placebo controlled trials submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration: individual participant data analysis

Marc B. Stone, Zimri S. Yaseen, Brian J. Miller, Kyle Richardville, Shamir N. Kalaria, Irving Kirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract:Objectives: To characterize individual participant level response distributions to acute monotherapy for major depressive disorder in randomized, placebo controlled trials submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration from 1979 to 2016. Design: Individual participant data analysis. Population: 232 randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials of drug monotherapy for major depressive disorder submitted by drug developers to the FDA between 1979 and 2016, comprising 73 388 adult and child participants meeting the inclusion criteria for efficacy studies on antidepressants. Main outcome measures: Responses were converted to Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD17) equivalent scores where other measures were used to assess efficacy. Multivariable analyses examined the effects of age, sex, baseline severity, and year of the study on improvements in depressive symptoms in the antidepressant and placebo groups. Response distributions were analyzed with finite mixture models. Results: The random effects mean difference between drug and placebo favored drug (1.75 points, 95% confidence interval 1.63 to 1.86). Differences between drug and placebo increased significantly (P<0.001) with greater baseline severity. After controlling for participant characteristics at baseline, no trends in treatment effect or placebo response over time were found. The best fitting model of response distributions was three normal distributions, with mean improvements from baseline to end of treatment of 16.0, 8.9, and 1.7 points. These distributions were designated Large, Non-specific, and Minimal responses, respectively. Participants who were treated with a drug were more likely to have a Large response (24.5% v 9.6%) and less likely to have a Minimal response (12.2.% v 21.5%). Conclusions: The trimodal response distributions suggests that about 15% of participants have a substantial antidepressant effect beyond a placebo effect in clinical trials, highlighting the need for predictors of meaningful responses specific to drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere067606
JournalThe BMJ
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Response to acute monotherapy for major depressive disorder in randomized, placebo controlled trials submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration: individual participant data analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this