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Mirtazapine added to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment-resistant depression in primary care (MIR trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Tallon, Debbie; Wiles, Nicola; Campbell, John; Chew-Graham, Carolyn; Dickens, Chris; Macleod, Una; Peters, Tim J.; Lewis, Glyn; Anderson, Ian M.; Gilbody, Simon; Hollingworth, William; Davies, Simon; Kessler, David

Mirtazapine added to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment-resistant depression in primary care (MIR trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial Thumbnail


Authors

Debbie Tallon

Nicola Wiles

John Campbell

Chris Dickens

Una Macleod

Tim J. Peters

Glyn Lewis

Ian M. Anderson

Simon Gilbody

William Hollingworth

David Kessler



Abstract

Background
People with depression are usually managed in primary care and antidepressants are often the first-line treatment, but only one third of patients respond fully to a single antidepressant. This paper describes the protocol for a randomised controlled trial (MIR) to investigate the extent to which the addition of the antidepressant mirtazapine is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression compared with placebo in patients who are still depressed after they have been treated with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) for at least 6 weeks in primary care.

Methods/Design
MIR is a two-parallel group, multi-centre, pragmatic, placebo controlled, randomised trial with allocation at the level of the individual. Eligible participants are those who: are aged 18 years or older; are currently taking an SSRI/SNRI antidepressant (for at least 6 weeks at an adequate dose); score =14 on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II); have adhered to their medication; and meet ICD-10 criteria for depression (assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised version).

Participants who give written, informed consent, will be randomised to receive either oral mirtazapine or matched placebo, starting at 15 mg daily for 2 weeks and increasing to 30 mg daily thereafter, for up to 12 months (to be taken in addition to their usual antidepressant). Participants, their GPs, and the research team will all be blind to the allocation. The primary outcome will be depression symptoms at 12 weeks post randomisation, measured as a continuous variable using the BDI-II.

Secondary outcomes (measured at 12, 24 and 52 weeks) include: response (reduction in depressive symptoms (BDI-II score) of at least 50 % compared to baseline); remission of depression symptoms (BDI-II <10); change in anxiety symptoms; adverse effects; quality of life; adherence to antidepressant medication; health and social care use, time off work and cost-effectiveness. All outcomes will be analysed on an intention-to-treat basis.

A qualitative study will explore patients’ views and experiences of either taking two antidepressants, or an antidepressant and a placebo; and GPs’ views on prescribing a second antidepressant in this patient group.

Discussion
The MIR trial will provide evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of mirtazapine as an adjunct to SSRI/SNRI antidepressants for patients in primary care who have not responded to monotherapy.

Citation

Tallon, D., Wiles, N., Campbell, J., Chew-Graham, C., Dickens, C., Macleod, U., …Kessler, D. (2016). Mirtazapine added to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment-resistant depression in primary care (MIR trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17, 66. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-016-1199-2

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 26, 2016
Publication Date Feb 3, 2016
Journal Trials
Publisher Springer Verlag
Volume 17
Article Number ARTN 66
Pages 66
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-016-1199-2
Keywords Depression, Treatment-resistant, Antidepressants, Mirtazapine, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-016-1199-2

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