Major study backs efficacy of antidepressants

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The results showed that all 21 antidepressant medications were more effective than placebo, with odds ratios ranging between 2.13 for amitriptyline and 1.37 for reboxetine.

What is the controversy behind antidepressants? This is where this new study steps in, attempting to draw conclusions about the overall efficiency of antidepressants. We found that the most commonly used antidepressants are more effective than placebo, with some more effective than others.

Lead author Dr Andrea Cipriani outlined, "Our findings are relevant for adults experiencing a first or second episode of depression ― the typical population seen in general practice". Moreover, they consulted pharmaceutical companies, original study authors, and regulatory agencies to supplement incomplete reports of the original papers, or provide data for unpublished studies. However, there was a big variability in how well they fared.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "This research should reassure patients who are taking or are contemplating commencing antidepressants, and the doctors that prescribe them, that they are an effective treatment for depression in the short-term". "Differences between antidepressants are smaller, although newer drugs tend to be better tolerated".

Agomelatine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, and vortioxetine were more tolerable than other antidepressants, whereas amitriptyline, clomipramine, duloxetine, fluvoxamine, reboxetine, trazodone, and venlafaxine had the highest dropout rates, they found.

The importance of addressing depression can not be overstated. "Patients should be aware of the potential benefits from antidepressants and always speak to the doctors about the most suitable treatment for them individually".

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In the USA, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates 16.2 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2016.

Accusations of bias on either side are unlikely to go away. And, though the meta-analysis is strong, this paper is unlikely to conclusively end the debate over the efficacy of antidepressants.

Furthermore, several previous trials have cast serious doubts on antidepressants (at least some of them). Pharmaceutical companies have very little incentive to publish trials with negative results, and journals also nearly never publish negative results, so published results are skewed towards positivity. 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.

Researchers at the University of Oxford wanted to clear up lingering questions about how effective medicine is in treating acute depression in adults.

It has been suggested that more than a million people per year in the United Kingdom should be given access to treatment for depression, through either drugs or talking therapies, with scientists saying the study proves that the drugs do work.

Lastly, this review only analyzed results over a period of 8 weeks. "The choice will need to be made by doctor and patient". Severe emotional shocks are another possible cause for depression and if they are not treated accordingly, depressions can even determine a person to commit suicide.