Abstract Background Depressive symptoms are common in patients with Parkinson’s disease and depression is a significant predictor of functional impairment, reduced quality of life and general well-being in Parkinson's disease. Despite the high prevalence of depression, evidence on the effectiveness and tolerability of antidepressants in this population is limited. The primary aim of this trial is to establish the clinical and cost effectiveness of escitalopram and nortriptyline for the treatment of depression in Parkinson’s disease. Methods This is a multi-centre, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial in 408 people with Parkinson’s disease with subsyndromal depression, major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder and a Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) score of 14 or above. Participants will be randomised into one of three groups, receiving either escitalopram, nortriptyline or placebo for 12 months. Trial participation is face-to-face, hybrid or remote. The primary outcome measure is the BDI-II score following 8 weeks of treatment. Secondary outcomes will be collected at baseline, 8, 26 and 52 weeks and following withdrawal, including severity of anxiety and depression scores as well as Parkinson’s disease motor severity, and ratings of non-motor symptoms, cognitive function, health-related quality of life, levodopa-equivalence dose, changes in medication, overall clinical effectiveness, capability, health and social care resource use, carer health-related quality of life, adverse effects and number of dropouts. Discussion This trial aims to determine the effectiveness of escitalopram and nortriptyline for reducing depressive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease over 8 weeks, to provide information on the effect of these medications on anxiety and other non-motor symptoms in PD and on impact on patients and caregivers, and to examine their effect on change in motor severity. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03652870 Date of registration – 29th August 2018



Publication Date


Publication Title

BMC Neurology





Embargo Period


Organisational Unit

Peninsula Medical School