Anti-Depressant Drugs Lack Effectiveness

Armen Hareyan's picture

New generation anti-depressant drugs are little more effective than placebos.

A team of scientists from University of Hull studied 35 clinical trials of 5000 patients suffering from depression. 2/3 of patients were prescribed modern anti-depressants, 1/3 were taking just placebos.

Research examined class Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Seroxat (paroxetine) and Efexor (venlafaxine). These drugs increase the levels of mood controlling chemicals in brain.


The results showed almost no added benefit in those taking anti-depressant drugs compared to those taking placebo. Those patients with severe depression showed a little more improvement that those with mild or moderate depression. However, the drugs didn't significantly improved disease symptoms. Moreover, some anti-depressants showed adverse side effects, such as self harm, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, headaches and vomiting.

Researcher Professor Irving Kirsch said: "Given these data, there seems little evidence to support the prescription of anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide benefit."

Disappointing results are because maybe pharmaceutical companies don't make drug facts available for public. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence doesn't have all necessary information about drug trials to make proper decision whether to make an anti-depressant available for use. The complete information is difficult to access, and the researchers used Freedom of Information legislation to access full information.

Scientist concluded, that the main mechanism of how anti-depressants is placebo effect. Patients feel safe while taking drugs, they believe that drugs will help. Research suggests that daily exercising, self help book reading will be more effective for depression treatment than taking drugs.