Adjunctive minocycline for major mental disorders: A systematic review

Wei Zheng, Xiao-Min Zhu, Qing-E Zhang, Gen Cheng, Dong-Bin Cai, Jie He, Chee H. Ng, Gabor S. Ungvari, Xiao-Jiang Peng, Yu-Ping Ning, Yu-Tao Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives: This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examined the efficacy and safety of minocycline for three major mental disorders: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: A systematic literature search of major electronic databases was conducted. Meta-analysis of clinical efficacy as defined by the respective studies, all-cause discontinuation, adverse drug reactions (ADRs) with standardized mean difference (SMD) and risk ratios (RRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) was conducted using random-effects model. Quality assessment was performed with the Jadad scale and Cochrane risk of bias. Results: Sixteen RCTs (n=1357) on minocycline (50-300 mg/day) for schizophrenia (13 RCTs, n=1196), bipolar depression (1 RCT, n=49), and MDD (2 RCTs, n=112) were analyzed separately by diagnosis. Twelve RCTs mentioned randomized allocation specifically; the weighted Jadad scores were 4.0. Adjunctive minocycline outperformed placebo in improving total psychopathology [SMD: -0.45 (95%CI: -0.73, -0.16), p=0.002; I-2=77%], positive [SMD: -0.15 (95%CI: -0.28, -0.02), p=0.02; I-2=0%], negative [SMD: -0.62 (95%CI: -0.95, -0.28), p=0.0003; I-2=85%] and general psychopathology scores [SMD: -0.28 (95%CI: -0.53, -0.03), p=0.03; I-2=59%] in schizophrenia. Minocycline showed no significant effect on depressive and manic symptoms in both bipolar depression and MDD. Minocycline caused significantly less headache (p=0.02, number-needed-to-harm=14, 95%CI=5-14) than placebo in schizophrenia. All-cause discontinuation and other ADRs were similar between minocycline and placebo in each diagnostic category. Conclusion: In this meta-analysis, adjunctive minocycline appeared to be efficacious and safe for schizophrenia. However, the efficacy of adjunctive minocycline for bipolar depression or MDD could not be demonstrated. Review registration: PROSPERO: CRD42018102483

Original languageEnglish
Article number0269881119858286
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2019


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