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Paroxetine Response and Tolerability Among Ethnic Minority Patients With Mood or Anxiety Disorders: A Pooled Analysis

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(10):1228-1233

Background: Because of the poor quality of mental health care received by minorities, analyses documenting comparable response to and tolerability of medications for anxiety and depression in large samples of minority and majority populations could increase the willingness of providers and patients to use medications in minority populations.

Method: A pooled analysis of 14,875 adults who participated in 104 double-blind, placebo-controlled paroxetine clinical trials investigating major depression, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder from March 1984 through March 2002. An intent-to-treat analysis with last observation carried forward used the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale to measure dichotomous outcome, classified as either response (CGI score of 1 or 2) or more complete response (CGI score of 1) ("full response"). Minority group differences were examined using logistic regression for the entire sample and repeated for those with major depression. Adverse events greater than 5% and twice the rate of placebo were descriptively tabulated. Finally, a survival analysis examined group differences in speed of onset of response.

Results: Hispanic and Asian subjects had a slightly lower response rate, while Asians had the highest rates and Hispanics had the lowest rates of "full response." The more consistent Hispanic outcome differences appeared to be due to a higher placebo response rate. There was no treatment by minority group interaction for depressed patients. Speed of response and adverse effects were similar across groups.

Conclusions: There were few consistent differences in medication response and tolerability. These findings may serve to counteract the greater rate of negative attitudes toward medication use among minorities and reinforce the value of medications used to treat anxiety and depression in minorities.