Anti-depressant drugs do work

23 February, 2018, 06:25 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Antidepressants work for many- but researchers are still debating the scientific data

Also, the differences in efficacy and acceptability between different antidepressants are smaller when data from placebo-controlled trials are also considered.

With more than 350 million people experiencing depression worldwide, many people turn to prescription drugs and anti-depressants to better manage their condition.

Antidepressants are a controversial topic. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological medicines are accessible but since of lacking assets, antidepressants are utilized more every now and again than mental intercessions. This is where this new study steps in, attempting to draw conclusions about the overall efficiency of antidepressants.

Comparing 21 commonly used antidepressants, the United Kingdom study concludes that all are more effective than placebo for the short-term treatment of acute depression in adults, with effectiveness ranging from small to moderate for different drugs. "We found that the most commonly used antidepressants are more effective that placebo, with some more effective than others".

"Our study brings together the best available evidence to inform and guide doctors and patients in their treatment decisions", Dr. Andrea Cipriani, of Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry, said in a release. However, there was a big variability in how well they fared.

In the global study published in the Lancet, authors found that fluoxetine-commonly sold under then trade name Prozac-was one of the least effective antidepressants.




At least one million more people in the United Kingdom would benefit from treatments, including anti-depressants, they said.

The importance of addressing depression can not be overstated. And while antidepressants are a common form of treatment, around a third of the people who take them don't respond to treatment.

The World Health Organisation estimates that around 300 million people suffer from depression globally. The fact that the conclusion "antidepressants work" was considered groundbreaking enough to be published in a reputable science journal says a lot about existing uncertainties in the field. However, the design of the meta-analysis and the inclusion of previously unpublished data attempted to reduce the impact of bias as much as possible. "Forty-six (9%) of 522 trials were rated as high risk of bias, 380 (73%) trials as moderate, and 96 (18%) as low", note the authors.

Furthermore, several previous trials have cast serious doubts on antidepressants (at least some of them).

Through examining trials involving almost 120,000 people, including patients taking 21 commonly prescribed antidepressants, the research found all the drugs were more effective than a placebo. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the FDA demands pharmaceutical companies provide data on all the clinical trials they sponsor - including unpublished trials. Some people suspect drug companies of fiddling trial results. Still, it should be noted that different drugs have different impacts on individuals. There have been findings that counter Kirsch's work and show antidepressants are truly effective, which Kirsch in turn rejected through his own research. This is likely in part due to the extremely broad medical definition of "depression"; many people are classified as having the same disorder, even if the underlying biological and social influences causing the illness vary considerably.

Lastly, this review only analyzed results over a period of 8 weeks. "Therefore, innovation in psychopharmacology is of crucial importance, but the identification of new molecular targets is hard, primarily because of the paucity of knowledge about how antidepressants work".

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