Antidepressants do they Always Work?

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Antidepressants Almost no Affect on depression 

Exploring New and Old Health News Today – Antidepressants

Introduction 

Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world to treat depression. What is depression? It is a state of low mood and will affect a person’s wellbeing and state of mind. It is reported that ¼ of the British population will suffer from this condition throughout the course of a year with mixed feelings of anxiety and depression and in total this condition affects 350 million people throughout the world. Findings Informa Pharma Intelligence reveal the market US market is expected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2015 to $7.3 billion in 2024.  There are different types of antidepressants on the market the most common belonging to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s). This class of drugs prevent the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the synapse between neurons. This allows the continued firing of the post synaptic neuron as serotonin cannot be reabsorbed. What does this mean serotonin is a neurotransmitter with many roles in the body, one of them roles appears to have an impact on maintaining mood balance. With low serotonin levels thought to cause depression and ‘normal’ levels thought to be corrective for depression. This is the KEY POINT  here if you prevent the reuptake of serotonin the post synaptic neuron will continue to fire, supposedly resulting in correcting a depression. It’s a plausible scientific hypothesis but does it have hold up against the science, we’ll take a brief look.

The Science

One meta-analysis sums up antidepressants rather nicely Kirsch et al. (2008) performed a meta-analysis of all clinical trials submitted to the food and drug administration (FDA) for the licensing of anti-depressants, which was subsequently sent to the FDA. This study was performed due to the fact that doubts still remain on the efficacy of prescription of anti depressants. The conclusion of this meta-analysis was that anti-depressants showed virtually no difference in the improvement of symptoms compared with a placebo in patients with moderate depression and only a small difference in people with severe symptoms of depression. Meaning taking antidepressants for mild to moderate depression did not correct depression. In people with severe depression only a small correction was noticed.

What are the side effects of antidepressants?

Firstly it’s important to say antidepressants can result in suicidal thoughts at the start of treatment, especially in the young. Here is a list of the other side effects most common:

  • Tiredness
  • A dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Dizzy spells
  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sexual dysfunction

Conclusion

Antidepressants are used to treat depression by preventing the reuptake of serotonin in the attempt to correct depression. A meta analysis conducted by Kirsch et al. (2008) reported no improvements in taking antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression and only slightly improved severe cases. In cases of mild to moderate cases of depression using this class of medication does not outweigh the benefit of the side effects. In the cases of severe depression if a treatment plan of SSRI’s is started the medical professionals need to watch out for suicidal thoughts.

If you have any thoughts of suicide please contact your doctor. If you are having thoughts of suicide and need to talk to someone contact the Samaritans. If you want to know more about suicidal thoughts, more information can be found here on the NHS website.

Diet and lifestyle changes can help improve depression, especially if you’re overweight and have diabetes if you want to find out how GC Biosciences can help you please contact us here

Updated by the GC Biosciences editorial team on the 31st October 2019.

References:

Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-Medina TB, Scoboria A, Moore TJ, et al. (2008) Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLOS Medicine 5(2): e45. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

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