The real harm that the drugs do is not apparent because most of the deaths are never reported, says Peter Gotzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen. In one analysis of 100,000 patients taking antidepressants, there were 15 times more suicides than reported.
Other studies have shown that patients are getting very little benefit from the drugs, and often nothing above placebo, or a dummy pill. This is true for drugs for severe depression, schizophrenia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder).
"I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs and dementia drugs, and using only a fraction of the antipsychotics and benzodiazepines we currently use. This would lead to healthier and more long-lived populations," said Prof Gotzsche.
(Source: BMJ, 2015; 350: h2435)