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INTRODUCTION: We have recently compared all second-generation as well as selected first-generation antidepressants in terms of efficacy and acceptability in the acute treatment of major depression. Here we present a protocol for a network meta-analysis aimed at extending these results, updating the evidence base and comparing all second-generation as well as selected first-generation antidepressants in terms of specific adverse events and tolerability in the acute treatment of major depression in adults. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will include all double-blind randomised controlled trials comparing one active drug with another or with placebo in the acute treatment major depression in adults. We will compare the following active agents: agomelatine, amitriptyline, bupropion, citalopram, clomipramine, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, levomilnacipran, milnacipran, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, reboxetine, sertraline, trazodone, venlafaxine, vilazodone and vortioxetine. The main outcomes will include the total number of patients experiencing specific adverse events; experiencing serious adverse events; and experiencing at least one adverse event. Published and unpublished studies will be retrieved through relevant database searches, trial registries and websites; reference selection and data extraction will be completed by at least two independent reviewers. For each outcome we will undertake a network meta-analysis to synthesise all evidence. We will use local and global methods to evaluate consistency. We will perform all analyses in R. We will assess the quality of evidence contributing to network estimates with the Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis web application. DISCUSSION: This work will provide an in- depth analysis and an insight into the specific adverse events of individual antidepressants. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This review does not require ethical approval. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019128141.

Original publication




Journal article


Evid Based Ment Health

Publication Date





61 - 66


adult psychiatry