Anti-depressants have been no stranger to controversy over the years. Critics argue that they’re over-prescribed, while doctors and patients alike have championed their effectiveness.
It’s on this landscape that the University of Oxford in England decided to try and answer the question once and for all. Here’s more from IFL Science.
The study looked at 120,000 users of 21 commonly prescribed antidepressants. The drugs were deemed effective. By this, psychiatrists mean that the drug used reduces depression symptoms by 50 or more percent.
Very important, comprehensive @TheLancet analysis of 522 placebo-controlled studies of antidepressants for adult acute depression, including unpublished trials. Bottom line: they really do work. https://t.co/jUD63mKh2z
— Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande) February 22, 2018
“This rigorous study confirms that antidepressants have an important place in the treatment of depression,” commented Dr James Warner, a psychiatrist at Imperial College London who was not directly involved in the study.
“Depression causes misery to countless thousands every year and this study adds to the existing evidence that effective treatments are available. This study also adds clarity about how effective and how well tolerated all the common antidepressants are and should help clinicians and patients in treatment choices.”
Over 300 million Americans are living with depression and some psychiatrists say the number is growing. Throughout the world, antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medication.
Medication advocates are trumpeting the study.
“This is good quality research and the conclusions are backed up by solid data,” added Professor Allan Young, of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.
“However, we should be aware that these findings only apply to major depressive disorder and are calculated from group data so individual patients may differ significantly in their responses.
A lot of ‘antidepressants’ are used for other disorders (such as anxiety or OCD) or off-label (where the drug is prescribed for something other than the original condition for which it was officially approved) and this evidence does not apply in these instances.”
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