New Study Concludes Age-Old Antidepressant Debate

More than 3.3 million American adults (around 1.5%) every year have been diagnosed with depression, many of which have been prescribed antidepressants to help relieve symptoms of depression. This mental health disorder can be acute or subtle in its existence and can only be accurately diagnosed by a trained physiatrist.

Antidepressants Can Help Those Who Are Depressed

Antidepressants are prescription drugs that have been scientifically designed to help improve the brain’s imbalance of neurotransmitters using the active chemicals in the pills. The goal of the antidepressants is to help you improve your mood and behavior by activating neurotransmitters that promote your mood and feeling of wellbeing.

Related: 6 Signs You May Be Suffering From Depression

When prescribed correctly, the medication can help you deal with a number of depression-related problems including acute depression, anxiety disorders, dysthymia, mild chronic depression, and social anxiety disorder.

Ever since antidepressants were developed in the 1950s, there have been debates on their effectiveness in the patients.

Debate Related To The Effectiveness Of Antidepressants:

The antidepressant debate has been talked about every time a new antidepressant is formulated or when cases of patients taking placebo pills have shown an improvement in their depression symptoms. There are those who believe that many antidepressants are ineffective and work similarly to placebo pills where it’s the human mind that improves the depression symptoms. Against this thinking are those who firmly believe that antidepressants work because of their effects on the brain chemistry and should be prescribed more often.

According to a recent study, one in three individuals who are diagnosed with depression chooses not to take any form of treatment, whether it’s taking antidepressants or therapy.

The New Research Into Antidepressant Efficiency:

On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Dr. Andrea Cipriani from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford published a research paper that seems to have provided a conclusion to the age-old debate regarding the effectiveness of antidepressants. This research paper named Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis has been a big win for doctors and patients who understand the importance of antidepressants in modern medicine.

This study compiled data from over 500 trials from around the world which provided information on the effects of antidepressants on over 119,000 participants. The researchers checked the effectiveness of 21 commonly used antidepressants by comparing them with each other as well as the placebo groups’ results.

Different antidepressants were tested for consistency

Cipriani and the other researchers also asked pharmaceutical companies to provide some of their collected and unpublished data which helped provide greater details in this debate ending report.

The Conclusion Of The Study:

For those of you who are taking antidepressants to treat your mental health issue, you will be pleased to find out that this report found all 21 antidepressants to be more effective than the placebo. So, it seems that antidepressants work effectively in improving the brain chemistry which helps patients with their moods and their outlook on the world.

The antidepressants that showed the best results in reducing symptoms of depression while having the lowest dropout rates included:

  • Escitalopram
  • Mirtazapine
  • Paroxetine
  • Agomelatine
  • Sertraline
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vortioxetine

There were also some antidepressants which showed better results than the placebo but not as significant results as the previously mentioned medications. These less favorable antidepressants include:

  • Reboxetine
  • Trazodone
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Clomipramine
While some antidepressants didn’t perform as well as other, it should be known that all the antidepressants performed more effectively at combating symptoms of depression than the placebo.

The Final Word Regarding This Study:

There are many advantages of this study, the biggest being the fact that doctors will be more confident in the prescription of antidepressants to their patients as a viable form of treatment for depression. Another advantage of this report is that it is clear to see which pills work and which ones work even better.

Antidepressants Proved To Be Effective

This report is great for those who are taking or require antidepressants to tackle depression, but it also needs to be recognized that part of the funding for this study did come from the pharmaceutical industry.

So, to take things forward, the researchers have mentioned that further research needs to be conducted, but this report is sufficient enough proof to have a sound conclusion regarding the age-old antidepressant debate.


Michelle is the senior most expert who writes for this website. After completing her graduation and 10+ years of practice, Michelle has been involved and known for a lot of her philanthropy work. Michelle loves spending time researching and writing her papers. She occasionally writes for us and we are extremely proud to have her as one of our editors.

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