Antidepressants effective, says major new study

Antidepressants work, but some are more effective than others, a major study published in peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet found. The findings could put to rest one of medicine’s most divisive debates.

The study of 116,477 people concluded that 21 common antidepressants reduced symptoms of acute depression in adults more than placebo pills.

The report’s authors said more people could potentially benefit from taking antidepressants. Currently, one in six people in the “developed” world receives proper treatment for moderate to severe depression. However, in poorer countries only one in 27 is getting adequate care for depression, according to The Guardian.

Depression is the single largest contributor to global disability and is a “massive challenge” for humankind, said John Geddes, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at Oxford University (The Guardian).

Lead researcher Dr Andrea Cipriani, of Oxford University, told the BBC: “This study is the final answer to a long-standing controversy about whether anti-depressants work for depression.”

This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford.

Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization.

Along with antidepressants, talking therapies, such as counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are also used to treat depressive disorders.

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