The researchers, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, say they are among the first to look at all of the negative effects of antidepressants and comparing them with any benefits. "Most of this evidence has been out there for years and nobody has been looking at this basic issue," says lead researcher Paul Andrews, an evolutionary biologist.
They discovered that antidepressants have a harmful effect on development and growth in infants, sexual functioning in adults, digestion - they cause diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and bloating - and cause abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly.
Any benefits from the drugs are minimal, they say.
(Source: Frontiers in Psychology, 2011; doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00159).