Antidepressants on trial: Are they a wonder or a danger? Argument rages over the benefits and risks of Prozac and other SSRIs. New books from a psychiatrist and a former patient give the cases for
If his description of them reflects a clinical reality, they deserve to be called wonder drugs. In primary care, he writes, 90 per cent of patients respond well to an antidepressant. Even those with chronic symptoms, “if they hang in, will achieve remission”, he says.
Little wonder that the number of antidepressant items prescribed has more than doubled in the past decade. The so-called worried well visit the doc with a case of every-day blues, and instead of being told gently that time will heal, or …
A problem with this study, and most of the individual studies it is based on, is that patients who take part in these drug trials have been on an antidepressant before the trial . They are then put on placebo for 10 days , a so-called washout.
Little wonder, then, why antidepressants have become some of the most prescribed medicines in the medical world today. So we know antidepressants are trendy, but are they safe? And are they the best way, or the only way, to treat the ailments they are designed to correct?
In fact, they really did just make things worse. The GP listened to me describing my symptoms, and handed me a course of Citalopram, a very common antidepressant. Counselling would be essential too, she said, but the local NHS was so overstretched that it could take a year before I’d get any.
Other tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), which were named after their characteristic biochemical structure, followed with different dose potencies and side-effect profiles but comparable efficacy. The pharmacology of this new class of “wonder” drugs allowed researchers to formulate the biogenic amine hypotheses of depression.
Patients wondering what to do when antidepressants don’t work should consider a safe and effective alternative depression therapy called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a brain stimulating treatment that relies on magnetic fields to help reset brain chemistry, leading to improvements in depression symptoms.
Antidepressants help balance brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Although you may feel well enough to stop taking them, it’s important that you don’t stop abruptly. We’ll explain the dangers of stopping antidepressants without the OK from your doctor and what to do if you have bothersome side effects.
“Then once they decide to try it, they thank me for convincing them to take it.” Antidepressants work by targeting certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. These chemicals affect mood and emotion. But exactly how antidepressants lessen depression is unclear.