Saturday, January 9, 2010

A New Study Shows Antidepressant Drugs Are Only as Effective as a Placebo

Antidepressants may only provide relief in extreme cases a recent study indicates, and they are no more effective for most patients than placebo pills according to a new study released this week by New York Times reporter Benedict Carey. Prior studies have painted a conflicting picture, since most studies have been pharmaceutical industry supported which have found the drugs reduced depression symptoms. A number of unpublished or buried studies show that antidepressants show no significant benefits over a placebo. This recent study also evaluated people who were considered to be more moderately depressed. The conflict in results with industry supported studies and unpublished studies may also indicate pharmaceutical industry tampering with the results from prior studies. Since these buried studies show antidepressants have no more effectiveness then a placebo then industry trial studies could be viewed as fraudulent.
The recent study was performed with government grants by a team of researchers, and psychologists. These psychologists also consult widely with drug makers. Media reports that the researchers were from the University of Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Colorado and Vanderbilt Universities. The group evaluated six large drug trials, including 728 men and women, about half of them with severe depression and half with more moderate symptoms. Three of the trials were of the SSRI Paxil by GlaxoSmithKline, and the other three were of imipramine a generic tricyclic classed drug. The researchers indicate that similar SSRI drugs like Prozac, and Lexapro would show similar results.
All the advertising in the world can’t beat a real study of a drug’s effectiveness. It is also possible that the prior studies were rigged to show antidepressants were effective. If this is the case then that is criminally fraudulent by pharmaceutical industry supported researchers and drug companies. These prior trials need to be investigated by State Attorney Generals for integrity and authenticity. There also needs to be more independent studies and no industry supported studies. There is clearly a conflict of interest with industry sponsored studies. Patients need to look at the many alternatives to antidepressants and we can add a placebo as a new alternative.

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