There is evidence that 5-HTTLPR is associated with response following treatment from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The short (S) allele has reduced serotonin transporter expression, compared to the long (L) allele, and has been reported to be associated with poorer response in Europeans, with the effect in other populations unclear. However the published literature is inconsistent. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to investigate the effect of 5-HTTLPR on discontinuation from antidepressant treatment. Data were obtained from 17 studies including 4309 participants. The principal outcome measure was the allelic odds ratio (OR) for the 5-HTTLPR S allele and discontinuation status. A random effects meta-analysis provided no evidence that the S allele was associated with increased odds of discontinuation from SSRIs in Europeans (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.83-1.42, p=0.53; 10 studies, n=2504) but in East Asians there was evidence of a reduced odds of discontinuation (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.12-0.64, p=0.002; 2 studies, n=136). There was a suggestion of small study bias (p=0.05). This meta-analysis provides no evidence of an association between 5-HTTLPR and discontinuation from antidepressant treatment in Europeans. The low number of studies in East Asian samples using SSRIs reduces confidence in our evidence that the S allele decreases the odds of discontinuation in this population. At present, there is no evidence of an association between 5-HTTLPR and discontinuation from SSRI treatment in a European population with further studies required to investigate its effects in different populations.
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