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Pioglitazone could induce remission in major depression: a meta-analysis

Authors Colle R, de Larminat D, Rotenberg S, Hozer F, Hardy P, Verstuyft C, Fève B, Corruble E

Received 31 August 2016

Accepted for publication 17 October 2016

Published 19 December 2016 Volume 2017:13 Pages 9—16


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Romain Colle,1,* Delphine de Larminat,1,* Samuel Rotenberg,1 Franz Hozer,1 Patrick Hardy,1 Céline Verstuyft,2 Bruno Fève,3,* Emmanuelle Corruble1,*

1Psychiatry Department, Hôpital Bicêtre, INSERM, UMR S1178, University Paris-Sud, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France; 2Molecular Genetic, Pharmacogenetics and Hormonology Department, Hôpital Bicêtre, INSERM UMR_S1184, Centre IMVA, University Paris-Sud, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France; 3Endocrinology Department, INSERM UMR_S938, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Centre de Recherche Saint-Antoine, Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire ICAN, Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Pioglitazone, a selective agonist of the nuclear transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ), prescribed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, could have antidepressant properties. However, its potential to induce remission of major depressive episodes, the optimal clinical target for an antidepressant drug, is a matter of concern. Indeed, only one out of four double-blind randomized controlled trials show higher remission rates with pioglitazone than with control treatments. Hence, the main aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of the efficacy of pioglitazone for the treatment of MDE, focusing on remission rates.
Methods: Four double-blind randomized controlled trials, comprising 161 patients with an MDE, were included in this meta-analysis. Pioglitazone was studied either alone (one study) or as add-on therapy to conventional treatments (antidepressant drugs or lithium salts). It was compared either to placebo (three studies) or to metformin (one study). Remission was defined by a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score <8 after treatment.
Results: Pioglitazone could induce higher remission rates than control treatments (27% versus 10%, I2=17.3%, fixed-effect model: odds ratio [OR] =3.3, 95% confidence interval [95% CI; 1.4; 7.8], P=0.008). The OR was even higher in the subgroup of patients with major depressive disorder (n=80; 23% versus 8%, I2=0.0%; fixed-effect model: OR =5.9, 95% CI [1.6; 22.4], P=0.009) and in the subgroup of patients without metabolic comorbidities (n=84; 33% versus 10%, I2=0.0%; fixed-effect model: OR =5.1, 95% CI [1.5; 17.9], P=0.01). As compared to control treatments, results suggest six patients would need to be treated with pioglitazone in order to achieve the possibility of one more remission.
Conclusion: Pioglitazone, either alone or as add-on therapy to conventional treatments, could induce remission of MDE, suggesting that drugs with PPAR-γ agonist properties may be true and clinically relevant antidepressants, even in patients without metabolic comorbidities.

Keywords: pioglitazone, major depressive episode, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, remission, meta-analysis

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