Study settles debate on drugs to heal depression

Source:Reuters Published: 2018/2/22 22:53:40

A vast research study that sought to settle a long-standing debate about whether or not anti-depressant drugs really work has found they are indeed effective in relieving acute depression in adults.

The international study - a meta-analysis pooling results of 522 trials covering 21 commonly-used antidepressants and almost 120,000 patients - uncovered a range of outcomes, with some drugs proving more effective than others and some having fewer side effects.

But all 21 drugs, including both off-patent generic and newer, patented drugs, were more effective than placebos, or dummy pills, the results showed.

"Antidepressants are routinely used worldwide yet there remains considerable debate about their effectiveness and tolerability," said John Ioannidis of Stanford University in the United States, who worked on a team of researchers led by Andrea Cipriani of Britain's Oxford University.

Cipriani said these findings now offered "the best available evidence to inform and guide doctors and patients" and should reassure people with depression that drugs can help.

"Antidepressants can be an effective tool to treat major depression, but this does not necessarily mean antidepressants should always be the first line of treatment," he told a briefing in London.

According to the World Health Organization, some 300 million people worldwide have depression.



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