Efficacy and safety of selegiline across different psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of oral and transdermal formulations

Flavia Rossano, Claudio Caiazza, Andrea Sobrino, Niccolò Solini, Alessandro Vellucci, Nicolas Zotti, Michele Fornaro*, Ken Gillman, Carlo Ignazio Cattaneo, Vincent Van den Eynde, Tom K. Birkenhager, Henricus G. Ruhé, Stephen Stahl, Felice Iasevoli, Andrea de Bartolomeis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Selegiline is an irreversible, selective type-B monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) approved for Parkison's disease—oral and major depressive disorder—transdermal formulation) resulting in non-selective MAOI activity at oral doses≥20 mg/day. The present systematic review and meta-analysis appraises the evidence of different formulations/dosages of selegiline across different psychiatric conditions. We inquired PubMed/MEDLINE/Cochrane-Central/WHO-ICTRP/Clarivate-WebOfScience and the Chinese-Electronic-Journal Database from inception to 10/26/2022 for selegiline trials involving psychiatric patients. Random-effects meta-analyses assessed heterogeneity, publication/risk biases, and confidence in the evidence, followed by sensitivity, subgroup, and meta-regression analyses. Co-primary outcomes were: changes in symptom score (standardized mean difference=SMD) and author-defined response (risk ratios=RRs). RRs of adverse events and all-cause discontinuation were secondary and acceptability outcomes, respectively. Systematic-review included 42 studies; meta-analysis, 23. Selegiline outperformed placebo in depressive symptom reduction (SMD=-0.96, 95%C.I.=-1.78, -0.14, k = 10, n = 1,308), depression (RR=1.61, 95%C.I.=1.20, 2.15, k = 9, n = 1,238) and atypical-depression response (RR=2.23, 95%C.I.=1.35, 3.68, k = 3, n = 136). Selegiline failed to outperform the placebo in negative (k = 4) or positive symptoms of schizophrenia (k = 4), attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms reduction (k = 2), and smoking abstinence rate (k = 4). Selegiline did not differ from methylphenidate and ADHD scores (k = 2). No significant difference emerged in acceptability, incident diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and nausea RRs, in contrast to xerostomia (RR=1.58, 95%C.I. =1.03, 2.43, k = 6, n = 1,134), insomnia (RR=1.61, 95%C.I.=1.19, 2.17, k = 10, n = 1,768), and application-site reaction for transdermal formulation (RR=1.81, 95%C.I.=1.40, 2.33, k = 6, n = 1,662). Confidence in findings was low/very-low for most outcomes; moderate for depressive symptoms reduction (transdermal). Selegiline proved effective, safe, and well-tolerated for depressive disorders, yet further evidence is warranted about specific psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-78
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Early online date29 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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© 2023 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP


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