Anti-depressant drugs do work

Adjust Comment Print

A major study has found that antidepressants do work, and are more effective than a placebo. These included more than 500 trials and more than 116,000 trial participants. The study includes the largest amount of previously unpublished data to date, all of which is now freely available online.

The research should reassure patients and doctors, she said.

"There is a long-lasting debate and concern about [antidepressants'] efficacy and effectiveness, because short-term benefits are, on average, modest; and because long-term balance of benefits and harms is often understudied", Andrea Cipriani, MD, PhD, of the department of psychiatry, University of Oxford, and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and colleagues wrote in The Lancet.

'"Antidepressants can be an effective tool to treat major depression, but this does not necessarily mean that antidepressants should always be the first line of treatment", Cipriani said.

"Medication should always be considered alongside other options, such as psychological therapies, where these are available".

Professor Anthony Cleare, of King's College London, added: "The decision to prescribe an antidepressant should always be a joint one between patients and clinicians, individualised to the person's specific needs".

Depression affects around 300 million people across the world, according to the World Health Organisation. The monetary weight in the United States of America alone has been evaluated to be more than US$210 billion.


The discoveries from this examination appear differently in relation to a comparative investigation in youngsters and teenagers, which inferred that fluoxetine was most likely the main stimulant that may lessen depressive manifestations. However, there is considerable debate about their effectiveness. "Depression causes misery to countless thousands every year and this study adds to the existing evidence that effective treatments are available". That this paper is considered groundbreaking enough to be published in a major medical journal speaks to the lack of clear data around antidepressants.

A study published on the 21 of February 2018 supports the idea that at least 21 most-commonly used antidepressants are far more efficient then Placebo. Researchers conducted the largest-ever review of trials of antidepressants, finding that all 21 studied worked better than a placebo (dummy) drug.

'This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression, ' he said.

They found that all 21 antidepressants were more effective than a placebo.

Some antidepressants were more effective than others, with agomelatine, amitriptyline, escitalopram, mirtazapine, paroxetine, venlafaxine, and vortioxetine proving most effective, and fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, reboxetine, and trazodone being the least effective. The team were also unable to look at effectiveness or acceptability of antidepressants in relation to age, sex, severity of symptoms, duration of illness or other factors that would influence results at an individual level.

In order to ensure that the trials included in the meta-analysis were comparable, the authors excluded studies with patients who also had bipolar depression, symptoms of psychosis or treatment resistant depression, meaning that the findings may not apply to these patients. "We tend to focus on over-treatment but we need to focus on this". Through the Freedom of Information Act, the FDA demands pharmaceutical companies provide data on all the clinical trials they sponsor - including unpublished trials. Overall, 9% of the trials were rated as high risk of bias, 78% as moderate, and 18% as low.

Comments