Anti-depressants such as Prozac not clinically effective

Next generation antidepressants drugs such as Prozac and Seroxat are barely more effective than placebo, according to a study.

The research pooled results of studies, some unpublished, submitted to the Federal Drugs Authority (FDA) into fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Efexor), nefazodone (Serzone) and paroxetine (Seroxat).

Known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), these drugs are widely prescribed for treatment of depression.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Hull, looked at the overall improvement in Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression (HRSD) scores from 47 clinical trials.

Results showed that although the mean improvement in patients’ scores of 1.8 was statistically significant, it was below the score of three suggested by NICE as being clinically significant.

Only when trials involved the most depressed patients did results reach clinical significance, the report added.

Authors added: ‘This pattern is due to a decrease in the response to placebo rather than an increase in the response to medication.’

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