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
Reviewed By Michael W. Smith, MD
- New Study Results
- What does the new study say about the ineffectiveness of antidepressants?
- Does this study contradict numerous positive studies on antidepressants?
- What do other findings show about using antidepressants?
- Why wouldn't an antidepressant work?
- Can alternative treatments help in treating depression?
- What about teens and antidepressants?
- What are the common signs of depression?
- What causes depression?
- How do most doctors treat depression?
- What if my antidepressant doesn't seem to work?
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."
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