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26 February, 2008

Bad news for Prozac

An interesting article today on BBC news. Turns out that antidepressant medication isn't actually doing you a whole lot of good. Well, it may be helping but not due to any substance within the drug but instead because of the placebo effect.

The researchers found that the drugs did have a positive impact on people with mild depression - but the effect was no bigger than that achieved by giving patients a sugar-coated "dummy" pill."

Unsurprisingly the makers of Prozac and GlaxoSmithKline disagree and state that they helping in reducing depression.

I think the most important aspect of this article is that it emphasizes the need for talking therapies. Whilst there are much harder to evaluate than say drug studies they are effective and can be individually designed for a specific person. I would say that depression is often caused by a number of environmental factors in a persons life and that taking medication might relieve some of the symptoms but actually getting those things off your chest, discussing some solutions and learning how to carry out the solutions has got to be a better option. In England 3,600 new therapists will be trained to increase patient access to talking therapies. Seems like a low number but at least it's a start.

Mental Health America found that West Virginia ranks 50 (out of 51 including DC) on depression making it the second most depressed state in the country. One of the factors they highlight is access to treatment and so I hope these findings can have some kind of effect locally.


RedZeppelin said...

After the year I've had I'm willing to risk it. Anyone who doesn't want their Prozac after seeing this report feel free to send it to me.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Well, I think you're on to something, but the sad truth is that many insurance companies don't cover talk therapies or only do so for a very limited number of visits. Lots of people can't afford to pay for the care out of pocket, either. It's just a really sad state of affairs.

jedijawa said...

Well, Prozac and other neurotransmitter drugs work to fix imbalances of little chemicals in your brain. So if you aren't that out of balance in the first place and are sad for some other reason I wouldn't be surprised it doesn't work. For those who have a significant imbalance I would imagine it would work better. Or so my clients tell me ... or something.