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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Antidepressants no better than counselling
About the author: 

Antidepressants no better than counselling image

Prescriptions for antidepressants have doubled over the past decade, raking in billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry but the drugs work only as well as counselling, a much cheaper option, a major new study has found.

The drugs and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) often referred to as a talking cure work equally as well in combatting major depression. There`s no difference in the outcome, whether the patient is given an antidepressant or has counselling, say researchers from the University of North Carolina.

The researchers looked at 11 previously-published studies that had explored the use of second-generation antidepressants mainly the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) with and without using CBT in combination on 1,511 patients suffering major depression.
Although each was effective as the other, neither approach was very effective, while many patients prematurely stopped taking the drugs usually because of side effects or having therapy.


References

(Source: BMJ, 2015; 351: h6019)

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