Tricyclic antidepressants delay the need for dopaminergic therapy in early Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers pooled and re-analysed the results from several previous clinical trials that had all looked at the impact of antidepressants on Parkinson’s.

Pooling the data from these studies gave them information about 2,064 people with Parkinson’s. Of these, 451 were taking an antidepressant at some time during their participation in the study. They compared these people to those without depression (or not on antidepressants), and looked at how quickly their Parkinson’s progressed. They judged this progression by how long it took before the person needed dopaminergic therapy.

Compared to those without depression, Parkinson’s progressed more rapidly in people taking anti-depressants. However, the researchers then re-analysed the data taking into account what kind of antidepressants were used. Astonishingly, they saw that disease progression appeared slowest of all in those taking tricyclic antidepressants. The initiation of dopaminergic therapy in this group was delayed the longest, even compared to the Parkinson’s patients without depression.