Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Antidepressants don't work as well as reported, study says

From the Globe and Mail:
Antidepressants are far less effective than doctors have been led to believe, a new study has found.

That's because 88 per cent of clinical trials that showed the drugs didn't work either weren't published in medical journals or were presented as positive findings, says the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It provides the first hard data on a practice known as selective reporting, in which the good news about a drug is made public but the bad news isn't. Ethicists say it gives doctors and patients too rosy a picture. Clinicians rely on the medical literature to learn about new drugs and to help them assess whether it is worth prescribing a medication, given the risk of side effects.

The researchers examined the studies that drug companies submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States when they were seeking regulatory approval for 12 antidepressants. The drugs were all approved between 1981 and 2004, and are now widely prescribed. (Canada has its own drug approvals process, which relies on essentially the same information drug companies give the FDA.) ...more

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