Antidepressant Ups And Downs

“There have now been six meta analyses in the last decade showing little difference between antidepressants and placebos, yet this is not commonly recognised in clinical practice.” – Medical Observer April 4 2008 pg 31

So says Professor Gordon Parker of the Black Dog Institute in Australia, who has long been a critic of “depression” as being too broad a label for what is going on in particular individuals. He is particular keen that treatment, including antidepressants, must be tailored much more specifically.

Professor Parker points out that the popularity of antidepressants was full of ups and downs even before the culture-shifting release of the antidepressant Prozac…

“The first antidepressant drug (the tricyclic drug Imipramine) was ‘discovered’ a little more than fifty years ago.

The manufacturers, Ciba-Geigy, did not wish to take that drug to market as their analyses indicated that there were insufficient depressed people in the world for the drug to return a profit, and it was only after strong protest advocacy in the United States (by consumers) that it was released [my emphasis].

When we consider the sales of antidepressants over the last decade, that judgment by Ciba-Geigy may seem inexplicable. But “depression” in the middle of the twentieth century essentially comprised severe expressions of “biological depression” (psychotic or melancholic depression) that resulted in a percentage of people being hospitalised, generally in asylums as few general hospital psychiatry units existed.”

The last 50 years of psychiatric thinking has been an enormous rollercoaster ride through society and the ride isn’t looking like ending any time soon.

All I can say is, hang on!

-Dr Martin Russell

One thought on “Antidepressant Ups And Downs”

  1. Unfortunately, since the insurance companies (and governments) are too afraid of lawsuits, doctors are afraid to prescribe the placebos anymore. I’m sure they’re well aware of the effect and how drugs perform against them.

    That’s good business for the drug companies.

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