Antidepressants Mostly Useless, Study Finds

Prozac and others make a difference only in most extreme cases
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 7:41 AM CST
Antidepressants Mostly Useless, Study Finds
Wyeth's headquarters in Madison, N.J., is seen in a file photo from April 28, 2004. The drugmaker's market exclusivity for Effexor _ its top-selling antidepressant drug _ is being threatened by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a generics manufacturer in India. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File)   (Associated Press)

Big Pharma swallowed a bitter pill yesterday as Prozac and other antidepressants were found in a UK study to be largely ineffectual in all but the most extreme cases of depression. The meta-analysis of 47 clinical trials submitted to the FDA with licensing applications for six popular antidepressants concluded that they should be prescribed only when all other treatments fail to yield results, the Independent reports.

"This study raises serious issues that need to be addressed surrounding drug licensing and how drug trial data is reported," one researcher said. The pharmaceutical industry has remained calm about the latest findings. "This one study should not be used to cause unnecessary alarm for patients," GlaxoSmithKline announced. But doctors are expected to be "much more cautious about prescribing" antidepressants, one author said. (Read more pharmaceutical industry stories.)

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