Antidepressants more effective in treating depression than placebo

Topic Selected: Depression

General Article icon Type: General Article

A major study comparing 21 commonly used antidepressants concludes that all are more effective than placebo for the short-term treatment of acute depression in adults, with effectiveness ranging from small to moderate for different drugs.

The international study, published in The Lancet, is a network meta-analysis of 522 double-blind, randomised controlled trials comprising a total of 11,6477 participants. The study includes the largest amount of unpublished data to date, and all the data from the study have been made freely available online.

An estimated 350 million have depression worldwide. The economic burden in the USA alone has been estimated to be more than US$210 billion. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are available but because of inadequate resources, antidepressants are used more frequently than psychological interventions. However, there is considerable debate about their effectiveness.

As part of the study, the authors

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