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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Antidepressants for depression in adults with HIV infection

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2018
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (87th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

16 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages
1 Google+ user


46 Dimensions

Readers on

469 Mendeley
Antidepressants for depression in adults with HIV infection
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008525.pub3
Pubmed ID

Ingrid Eshun-Wilson, Nandi Siegfried, Dickens H Akena, Dan J Stein, Ekwaro A Obuku, John A Joska


Rates of major depression among people living with HIV (PLWH) are substantially higher than those seen in the general population and this may adversely affect antiretroviral treatment outcomes. Several unique clinical and psychosocial factors may contribute to the development and persistence of depression in PLWH. Given these influences, it is unclear if antidepressant therapy is as effective for PLWH as the general population. To assess the efficacy of antidepressant therapy for treatment of depression in PLWH. We searched The Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group's specialised register (CCMD-CTR), the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase and ran a cited reference search on the Web of Science for reports of all included studies. We conducted additional searches of the international trial registers including; ClinicalTrials.gov, World Health Organization Trials Portal (ICTRP), and the HIV and AIDS - Clinical trials register. We searched grey literature and reference lists to identify additional studies and contacted authors to obtain missing data. We applied no restrictions on date, language or publication status to the searches, which included studies conducted between 1 January 1980 and 18 April 2017. We included randomized controlled trials of antidepressant drug therapy compared to placebo or another antidepressant drug class. Participants eligible for inclusion had to be aged 18 years and older, from any setting, and have both HIV and depression. Depression was defined according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or International Statistical Classification of Diseases criteria. Two review authors independently applied the inclusion criteria and extracted data. We presented categorical outcomes as risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Continuous outcomes were presented mean (MD) or standardized mean differences (SMD) with standard deviations (SD). We assessed quality of evidence using the GRADE approach. We included 10 studies with 709 participants in this review. Of the 10 studies, eight were conducted in high income countries (USA and Italy), seven were conducted prior to 2000 and seven had predominantly men. Seven studies assessed antidepressants versus placebo, two compared different antidepressant classes and one had three arms comparing two antidepressant classes with placebo.Antidepressant therapy may result in a greater improvement in depression compared to placebo. There was a moderate improvement in depression when assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) score as a continuous outcome (SMD 0.59, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.96; participants = 357; studies = 6; I2 = 62%, low quality evidence). However, there was no evidence of improvement when this was assessed with HAM-D score as a dichotomized outcome (RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.35; participants = 434; studies = 5; I2 = 0%, low quality evidence) or Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) score (RR 1.28, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.77; participants = 346; studies = 4; I2 = 29%, low quality evidence). There was little to no difference in the proportion of study dropouts between study arms (RR 1.28, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.80; participants = 306; studies = 4; I2 = 0%, moderate quality evidence).The methods of reporting adverse events varied substantially between studies, this resulted in very low quality evidence contributing to a pooled estimate (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.21; participants = 167; studies = 2; I2 = 34%; very low quality evidence). Based on this, we were unable to determine if there was a difference in the proportion of participants experiencing adverse events in the antidepressant versus placebo arms. However, sexual dysfunction was reported commonly in people receiving selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People receiving tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) frequently reported anticholinergic adverse effects such as dry mouth and constipation. There were no reported grade 3 or 4 adverse events in any study group.There was no evidence of a difference in follow-up CD4 count at study termination (MD -6.31 cells/mm3, 95% CI -72.76 to 60.14; participants = 176; studies = 3; I2 = 0%; low quality evidence). Only one study evaluated quality of life score (MD 3.60, 95% CI -0.38 to 7.58; participants = 87; studies = 1; very low quality evidence), due to the poor quality evidence we could not draw conclusions for this outcome.There were few studies comparing different antidepressant classes. We are uncertain if SSRIs differ from TCAs with regard to improvement in depression as evaluated by HAM-D score (MD -3.20, 95% CI -10.87 to 4.47; participants = 14; studies = 1; very low quality evidence). There was some evidence that mirtazapine resulted in a greater improvement in depression compared to an SSRI (MD 9.00, 95% CI 3.61 to 14.39; participants = 70; studies = 1; low quality evidence); however, this finding was not consistent for all measures of improvement in depression for this comparison.No studies reported on virological suppression or any other HIV specific outcomes.The studies included in this review had an overall unclear or high risk of bias due to under-reporting of study methods, high risk of attrition bias and inadequate sequence generation methods. Heterogeneity between studies and the limited number of participants, and events lead to downgrading of the quality of the evidence for several outcomes. This review demonstrates that antidepressant therapy may be more beneficial than placebo for the treatment of depression in PLWH. The low quality of the evidence contributing to this assessment and the lack of studies representing PLWH from generalized epidemics in low- to middle-income countries make the relevance of these finding in today's context limited. Future studies that evaluate the effectiveness of antidepressant therapy should be designed and conducted rigorously. Such studies should incorporate evaluation of stepped care models and health system strengthening interventions in the study design. In addition, outcomes related to HIV care and antiretroviral therapy should be reported.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 16 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 469 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 469 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 78 17%
Student > Bachelor 54 12%
Researcher 52 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 35 7%
Other 26 6%
Other 69 15%
Unknown 155 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 113 24%
Nursing and Health Professions 49 10%
Psychology 46 10%
Social Sciences 17 4%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 14 3%
Other 55 12%
Unknown 175 37%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 14. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 27 May 2021.
All research outputs
of 24,228,883 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,873 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 448,664 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 221 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,228,883 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,873 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 33.9. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 60% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 448,664 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 221 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 49th percentile – i.e., 49% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.