Scientists say they have solved one of the biggest medical arguments after a large study found the effects of antidepressants.
The study, which analyzed data from 522 trials involving 116,477 people, found that 21 common antidepressants were more effective than virtual pills in reducing symptoms of acute depression.
But it also shows a significant difference in the effectiveness of each drug.
The authors of the report, published in the lancet, said it showed that more people could benefit from the drugs.
Drug prescriptions of England in 2016 to 64.7 million, more than 31 million more than doubled in 2006, but the debate about their effectiveness, some experiments show that they are not better than a placebo.
The royal college of psychiatrists said the study “ultimately led to a debate about antidepressants”.
Your experience with antidepressants: ‘let me continue’
In addition to information on 522 clinical trials involving short-term treatment for adult acute depression, the so-called meta-analysis included unpublished data and found that drugs were more effective than placebo.
However, studies have found that they work a third to twice as effective as a placebo.
Lead researcher Dr Andrea Cipriani, from the university of Oxford, told the BBC: “this study is the definitive answer to the long-term debate over whether antidepressants apply to depression.
“We found that the most commonly used antidepressant medication was moderate to severe depression, which I think is very good news for patients and clinicians.”
Comedian Christian Talbot says he started taking antidepressants three and a half years ago because he found that speech therapy was ineffective.
His doctor told him that his depression was due to his low levels of serotonin, which is thought to affect mood, mood and sleep.
Christian says he was initially reluctant to take antidepressants because he feared they might make him “numb” or insensitive.
But when he took them away, he said, the results were “immediately beneficial.”
“It’s not that I feel a huge change, but I do feel a weight on my shoulder and I’m less anxious and even more flat.”
He said he felt a stigma attached to taking the drugs.
“I don’t know if people are afraid of them, or they’re embarrassed about them, because it’s like any other drug, except it’s a mental health issue, not a physical one.”
Strong evidence ‘
The findings could help doctors choose the right prescription, but that doesn’t mean everyone should switch to drugs, the study’s authors said.
This is because the study looked at the average effect of drugs, rather than the severity of symptoms and other characteristics of individuals of different ages or genders.
The researchers added that most of the data in the meta-analysis covered eight weeks of treatment, so the findings may not apply to long-term use.
They say this does not mean that antidepressants should always be the first treatment.
They say at least one million people in Britain will benefit from treatment, including antidepressants.
Dr Cipriani added: “drugs should be considered with other options, such as psychotherapy, if they are available.
From the royal college of psychiatry professor Dr Carmine Pariante, said: “this meta-analysis finally reveals the controversy of antidepressants, made it clear that these drugs really could help patients with depression and help the most.
“What is important is that, this paper analyses the pharmaceutical company unpublished data, and show the company’s research funding does not affect the results, which confirm the drugs clinical practicality is not affected by the rotation of the drug funding.”
However, Pariante said the paper did not raise awareness about how to help patients with antidepressant treatment, nor did they use any of the 21 test drugs to help them.
Glyn Lewis, professor of psychiatry at university college London, said the “excellent” study provided “compelling evidence” for the effectiveness of antidepressants.
He added: “antidepressants often receive ‘bad news’, but this article shows that they play a role in treating people with depression.”