This article systematically reviews current literature on the efficacy and efficiency of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), with a particular focus on behavior and cognitive functions.
A search was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines using CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Library databases. Eleven randomized controlled trials and open-label studies looking at the effects of SSRIs on FTLD patients were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed, consisting of 3 randomized and controlled studies that used the neuropsychiatric inventory to assess SSRI intervention.
The meta-analysis shows a combined mean reduction of 10.17 points (95% confidence interval, 18.14–2.19; P = 0.01) on the neuropsychiatric inventory with SSRI treatment in FTLD patients. The I2 calculated for this study was 62% (P = 0.07), which represents moderate heterogeneity among the studies. The Egger regression test (P = 0.526) did not show a publication bias. Sensitivity analysis showed no significant change.
The current meta-analysis supports SSRIs as an intervention for management of behavioral symptoms of FTLD. Marked improvements were seen in disinhibition, irritability, aggression, and aberrant motor activity across studies. However, apathy/loss of empathy did not show similarly promising results. A deteriorative effect on cognition was seen associated with SSRI use.