font size


The Truth About Antidepressants

A new study says some antidepressants are mostly ineffective, but many previous studies show the opposite.

By Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael W. Smith, MD

A controversial new study suggests the widely prescribed antidepressants Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor work no better than placebo for most patients who take them, and many depression experts now cry foul.

What does the new study say about the ineffectiveness of antidepressants?

In findings published in the February issue of the journal PloS Medicine, researchers conclude that when taken as a whole, the data show that only a small group of the most severely depressed patients benefit from taking one of the antidepressants.

For less severely depressed patients, the antidepressants were found to work no better than placebos, leading the researchers to conclude that most patients who take antidepressants probably shouldn't be on them.

Does this study contradict numerous positive studies on antidepressants?

Yes, it does. In a statement, American Psychiatric Association President-elect Nada Stotland, MD, maintains that studies like this one, which compare a single drug to placebo, do not accurately reflect the way doctors prescribe antidepressants today.

Stotland says many people who are depressed do not respond to the first antidepressant they try. "It may take up to an average of three or more different antidepressants until we find the one that works for a particular individual. Therefore, testing any single antidepressant on a group of depressed individuals will show that many of them do not improve."




Emotional Wellness

Get tips on therapy and treatment.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations