Doctors have long assumed that most antidepressants are interchangeable.
But according to a new study, Zoloft and Cipralex work slightly better than 10 other popular drugs, and should be psychiatrists' first choice for patients with moderate to severe depression.
Previous research found few differences between antidepressants. A U.S. government study in 2006 concluded that patients with major depression did equally well on different drugs.
But in a paper published online Thursday in the Lancet medical journal, two antidepressants came out on top, though only marginally.
International doctors examined more than 100 previous studies on a dozen antidepressants, which included nearly 26,000 patients from 1991 to 2007.
They found that Zoloft, developed by Pfizer Inc. and Cipralex, developed by Forest Laboratories in the U.S. and Danish drugmaker H. Lundbeck A/S in Europe, were the best options when considering benefits, side effects, and cost. In contrast, Pfizer's Edronax was the least effective.
All three drugs are now available generically.
The other drugs tested were Celexa, Cymbalta, Efexor, Ixel, Luvox, Prozac, Seroxat, Remeron, and Zyban
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