Effectiveness of Depression Drugs Questioned

The discussion and links in this post are not meant to discourage anyone from listening to their healthcare provider or from taking medical drugs where deemed necessary. It does however serve to show how complex the mind/body is, how being informed and how conscientiousness and self-reliance are important no matter what treatment approach is followed

As to the much lauded effect of the best-selling antidepressant drugs turning out to be very little more than the depression alleviating effect of an inert placebo pill see Sharon Begley’s excellent expose from Newsweek

 …let me show you the studies on PubMed. It seems I am not alone in having moral qualms about blowing the whistle on antidepressants. That first analysis, in 1998, examined 38 manufacturer-sponsored studies involving just over 3,000 depressed patients. The authors, psychology researchers Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein of the University of Connecticut, saw—as everyone else had—that patients did improve, often substantially, on SSRIs, tricyclics, and even MAO inhibitors, a class of antidepressants that dates from the 1950s. This improvement, demonstrated in scores of clinical trials, is the basis for the ubiquitous claim that antidepressants work. But when Kirsch compared the improvement in patients taking the drugs with the improvement in those taking dummy pills—clinical trials typically compare an experimental drug with a placebo—he saw that the difference was minuscule. Patients on a placebo improved about 75 percent as much as those on drugs. Put another way, three quarters of the benefit from antidepressants seems to be a placebo effect. “We wondered, what’s going on?” recalls Kirsch, who is now at the University of Hull in England. “These are supposed to be wonder drugs and have huge effects.”

The study’s impact? The number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled in a decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/01/28/the-depressing-news-about-antidepressants.html

For more on this subject see my post here – http://www.wellnessclarity.com/?p=89

 

See also Harriet Fraad’s article in The Guardian

So-called miracle drugs like Prozac are taken by 11% of the population – and Prozac is only one of the 30 available antidepressants on the market. …

Anti-psychotics drugs alone net the pharmaceutical industry at least $14.6bn dollars a year. Psycho-pharmaceuticals are the most profitable sector of the industry, which makes it one of the most profitable business sectors in the world. Americans are less than 5% of the world’s population, yet they consume 66% of the world’s psychological medications.

Do these psycho pharmaceuticals work to restore mental health? Actually, the evidence is overwhelming that they fail. Antidepressants, the most popular psycho-pharmaceuticals, work no better than placebos. They work 25% of the time and stop working when the user stops taking them. In addition, they may actually harm patients in the long run. They disrupt brain neurotransmitters and may usurp the brain’s organic soothing functions.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/15/psychology-healthcare

Until quite recently there used to be a fairly clear demarcation between reactive sadness and major depression that is sustained and apparently without cause – a distinction going back as far as the ancient Greeks. In past years however this distinction has been confused and normal sadness that most people experience from time to time has been increasingly medicalized into a treatable disorder and actively marketed as such.

Here Gordon Parker in the British Medical Journal, discusses this increasing medicalization of sadness.

http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7615/328.full

Also on the over-diagnosis of depression from the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/aug/17/world.health

 

Andrew Weil’s Integrative approach to improving Mood

See Andrew Weil’s (who has experienced bouts of depression life-long) book Spontaneous Happiness on the wholistic approach to emotional wellbeing. Weil also recommends acupuncture, exercise and meditation for this mood condition.

http://www.amazon.com/Spontaneous-Happiness-Andrew-Weil/dp/0316129445/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326240423&sr=1-1

Exercise Improves Depression

The following study demonstrated exercise to be  equal to Zoloft in improving depression in older adults at 4 months of intervention.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Blumenthal%5Bauthor%5D%20AND%20Effects%20of%20exercise%20training%20on%20older%20patients%20with%20major%20depression.

 

Thomas Martin LAc

 

Posted on January 15, 2012, in acupuncture for psychological conditions, Depression, Medical Drugs, Meditation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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