More Debate On AntiDepressant Effectiveness

I think this is pretty big news. The study that came out over the past few days in the UK has gotten lots of attention. I listened to Dr. Gupta talk about this on CNN this morning validating it although with caveats about drilling into the data. I also talked with a retail pharmacist last night about it. Obviously, with something like 100M antidepressant prescriptions per year, this should be a big deal.

Full study details.

The study showed that for those without severe depression a placebo had the same effect as an antidepressant. I know some pharmacists that used to joke about simply telling patients to walk around the block, but their point was that exercise can also have a positive effect on those with depression. This will be an interesting one to see how it plays out.

Obviously, if you take an antidepressant, don’t stop without talking to your physician.

And, I am sure this isn’t done. The manufacturers aren’t going to let this go away.

BTW – The WSJ Health Blog has a good dialog of comments going about this study.

3 Responses to “More Debate On AntiDepressant Effectiveness”

  1. I speak for a myself who was put on prozac for leg pain had a horrid reaction went mad and the drug was not blamed for years I was on other antidepressants till my body gave out from the toxic effects. Horrid withdrawal is where I am at now. I say take them off the market the down side is so much worse than whatever they could possibly offer.
    Reaction suicide withdrawal side effects these are drugs from hell give them sugar pills for .03 cents a pill recall that oath first do no harm!

  2. George Van Antwerp Reply February 28, 2008 at 5:47 am

    John – It’s a great point. I asked a panel of people yesterday at PBMI what they thought about the study. It had an employer, a MCO, and a PBM.

    The employer made the same point. People think it’s working so you can’t just pull it away. It might make you think differently about paying for brands in the class especially when fluoxetine (generic Prozac) costs about $0.03 per pill.

    The guy from the MCO made the point that different drugs do have an impact on different people and all the issues about titration. He had worked at pharma to launch the first SSRI so he also questioned the study.

    The guy from the PBM didn’t say much that I remember.

  3. The report in the guardian advocates stopping prescription of anti-depressants for mild and moderate depressives. My questions are:
    a) If they stop, what will they use to replace the placebo effect which clearly has been working?
    b) Was this study reviewed in the context of other research and do the news reports reflect that context or have they jumped on a band wagon?

    Whilst I’m all for saving money where possible and certainly agree that stopping unnecessary prescribing is a good thing – leaving 40 million ( in the US) patients without a replacement for the drug could be seriously damaging. I speak as both a doctor and someone who has been successfully treated for moderate depression with an SSRI.

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