Antidepressants Don't Work for 70% of Patients

Little better than placebos in all but the most severe cases
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2010 7:43 AM CST
There's little difference between antidepressants and placebos, according to a new study.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Antidepressants are little better than a placebo for all but the most severe cases of depression, according to a new analysis of recent studies. “For patients with very severe depression, the medication did have a potent effect,” the study’s lead author tells WebMD. But the effects “were pretty small or nonexistent for patients with mild or moderate depression or even into the severe range.”

The review looked at six studies, which looked at two drugs: paroxetine, the active ingredient in Paxil and Seroxat—which works on the same principle as the drugs used in Zoloft and Prosac—and impramine, an older drug used in Trofranil. For about 70% of patients, neither drug will have a significant effect, the researchers concluded, noting dryly that this is “not reflected in the implicit messages present in the marketing of these medications.”

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