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Monday, March 05, 2007

Best Kept Secret - SSRIs Do Not Work

Evelyn Pringle with yet another outstanding article here


Washington, DC: The medicalization of distress has led to a dramatic rise in the use of antidepressants, however it is questionable whether patients are being told that in controlled clinical trials the drugs barely outperformed a placebo, says Jonathan Leo, Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy, Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr Leo also states that patients are not told that in many cases the symptoms of depression will improve within six months even without medication, or that many people have significant physiological problems when they try and get off the drugs. In the interest of informed consent, he notes, patients should be given all the facts before taking an antidepressant.

That said, the fact that the class of antidepressants known as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are basically useless in treating depression in children and adults is not news to the FDA. Back on September 23, 2004, during testimony at a hearing before the House Oversight and Investigations Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dr Robert Temple, the FDA's Director of the Office of Medical Policy, discussed the agency's review on the efficacy of SSRIs with the children.

He noted that it was important in a risk-benefit equation to understand the benefit side. "Of the seven products studied in pediatric MDD (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, Serzone and Remeron)," he testified, "FDA's reviews of the effectiveness data resulted in only one approval (Prozac) for pediatric MDD."

"Overall," Dr Temple said, "the efficacy results from 15 studies in pediatric MDD do not support the effectiveness of these drugs in pediatric populations."

Also in 2004, a study of previously hidden unpublished data as well as published studies on five SSRIs, was conducted by Tim Kendall, deputy director of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Research Unit in London, to help analyze research to draw up the clinical guidelines for British regulators, and published in the Lancet.

Following his evaluation, Mr Kendall stated: "This data confirms what we found in adults with mild to moderate depression: SSRIs are no better than placebo, and there is no point in using something that increases the risk of suicide."

In 2005, the British Medical Journal published another study that concluded that SSRIs are no more effective than a placebo and do not reduce depression.


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