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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Antidepressants for functional abdominal pain disorders in children and adolescents

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2021
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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 (85th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

13 X users
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages


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Readers on

162 Mendeley
Antidepressants for functional abdominal pain disorders in children and adolescents
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2021
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008013.pub3
Pubmed ID

Clara Marieke Andrea de Bruijn, Robyn Rexwinkel, Morris Gordon, Marc Benninga, Merit M Tabbers


Functional Abdominal Pain Disorders (FAPDs) present a considerable burden to paediatric patients, impacting quality of life, school attendance and causing higher rates of anxiety and depression disorders. There are no international guidelines for the management of this condition. A previous Cochrane Review in 2011 found no evidence to support the use of antidepressants in this context. To evaluate the current evidence for the efficacy and safety of antidepressants for FAPDs in children and adolescents. In this updated review, we searched the Cochrane Library, PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and two clinical trial registers from inception until 03 February 2020. We also updated our search of databases of ongoing research, reference lists and 'grey literature' from inception to 03 February 2020. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing antidepressants to placebo, to no treatment or to any other intervention, in children aged 4 to 18 years with a FAPD diagnosis as per the Rome or any other defined criteria (as defined by the authors). The primary outcomes of interest included treatment success (as defined by the authors), pain severity, pain frequency and withdrawal due to adverse events. Two review authors checked all citations independently, resolving disagreement with a third-party arbiter. We reviewed all potential studies in full text, and once again made independent decisions, with disagreements resolved by consensus. We conducted data extraction and 'Risk of bias' assessments independently, following Cochrane methods. Where homogeneous data were available, we performed meta-analysis using a random-effects model. We conducted GRADE analysis. We found one new study in this updated search, making a total of three trials (223 participants) eligible for inclusion: two using amitriptyline (AMI) and one using citalopram. For the primary outcome of treatment success, two studies used reports of success on a symptom-based Likert scale, with either a two-point reduction or the two lowest levels defined as success. The third study defined success as a 15% improvement in quality of life (QOL) ratings scales. Therefore, meta-analysis did not include this final study due to the heterogeneity of the outcome measure. There is low-certainty evidence that there may be no difference when antidepressants are compared with placebo (risk ratio (RR) 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87 to 1.56; 2 studies, 205 participants; I2 = 0%). We downgraded the evidence for significant imprecision due to extremely sparse data (see Summary of findings table 1). The third study reported that participants receiving antidepressants were significantly more likely than those receiving placebo to experience at least a 15% improvement in overall QOL score at 10 and 13 weeks (P = 0.007 and P = 0.002, respectively (absolute figures were not given)). The analysis found no difference in withdrawals due to adverse events between antidepressants and placebo: RR 3.17 (95% CI 0.65 to 15.33), with very low certainty due to high risk of bias in studies and imprecision due to low event and participant numbers. Sensitivity analysis using a fixed-effect model and analysing just for AMI found no change in this result. Due to heterogeneous and limited reporting, no further meta-analysis was possible. There may be no difference between antidepressants and placebo for treatment success of FAPDs in childhood. There may be no difference in withdrawals due to adverse events, but this is also of low certainty. There is currently no evidence to support clinical decision making regarding the use of these medications. Further studies must consider sample size, homogenous and relevant outcome measures and longer follow up.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 13 X users 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 162 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 162 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Unspecified 17 10%
Student > Master 16 10%
Student > Bachelor 13 8%
Student > Ph. D. Student 12 7%
Researcher 11 7%
Other 21 13%
Unknown 72 44%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 36 22%
Unspecified 17 10%
Psychology 9 6%
Nursing and Health Professions 6 4%
Social Sciences 4 2%
Other 13 8%
Unknown 77 48%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. 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 25 January 2024.
All research outputs
of 25,462,162 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,090 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 537,277 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 136 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,462,162 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 89th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,090 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 38.2. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 59% 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 537,277 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 85% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 136 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 36th percentile – i.e., 36% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.