Do anti-depressants really help?

wonders too

Researchers have found that after taking antidepressants for a few months, the patients divide into two groups: responders and non-responders. The responders get progressively better. The non-responders do not improve with pharmaceuticals but still experience the side effects.

“It’s difficult to say a priori who will be in which group,” said Ralitza Gueorguieva, lead author from Yale University School of Medicine. She pointed out that the results of the study showed the importance of monitoring patients on mental health medications and getting them off the drugs as soon as it’s confirmed that they are not working.

For the study they compared a group on antidepressants and a group on placebo. People on placebo reported slow, gradual improvement over the two months of the study. For the others who were taking Cymbalta, the two groups of responders and non-responders emerged. The responders had steep and steady improvement on the drug – better than those on placebo -- while the non-responders didn’t see any change. Eighty percent of those on Cymbalta did respond.

“You know within the first couple of weeks of starting a treatment who’s the mot likely to respond because they’re already starting to show improvement,” said Dr. Michael Thase, a psychiatrist from the University of Pennsylvania.

“If you can identify people who would be potential responders to a particular medication… it would be a great, huge advantage for the field,” said C. Hendricks Brown of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine when asked to comment on the study.

“Identifying variables that are associated with response is a very important question that we haven’t quite tackled,” Gueorguieva agreed.

Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, Reuters


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