This does not surprise me at all…
The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil
never published the results of about a third of the drug trials that
they conducted to win government approval, misleading doctors and
consumers about the drugs’ true effectiveness, a new analysis has found.
In published trials, about 60 percent of people taking the drugs report significant relief from depression,
compared with roughly 40 percent of those on placebo pills. But when
the less positive, unpublished trials are included, the advantage
shrinks: the drugs outperform placebos, but by a modest margin,
concludes the new report, which appears Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Previous research had found a similar bias toward reporting positive
results for a variety of medications; and many researchers have
questioned the reported effectiveness of antidepressants. But the new
analysis, reviewing data from 74 trials involving 12 drugs, is the most
thorough to date. And it documents a large difference: while 94 percent
of the positive studies found their way into print, just 14 percent of
those with disappointing or uncertain results did.
The finding is likely to inflame a continuing debate about how drug trial data is reported.
A few thoughts…I remember being intrigued by a grad school discussion on some research which compared the effectiveness of treatment modalities and ‘Doing Nothing’ was found to have been very effective…half the time those who did nothing were better within 6 months. Where is the money to be made in that though?
My point is if someone presents for depression they will most likely get referred for assessment for meds. And in my experience most if not all will be placed on meds. (Only one time when I referred a client did the shrink not prescribe an anti-depressant). Over time I came to believe we could medicate far less people if we had the proper
community and social supports for individuals dealing with adjustment
reactions. But that is much harder work even though it would likely be more effective.
And then there are those who could really benefit from medication. Hell who really need an effective medication and we find drug manufacturer’s are straight out lying to them and their doctor’s in order to make money. It is that simple and it is incredibly unethical. It is also very frightening–for all of us–as we are not just talking about anti-depressants. Just what new drug out there can we trust?
And here is a very sad part to it all…