Antidepressant medications have been controversial for decades. When first introduced, drugs like Prozac were heralded as a major breakthrough in the treatment of depression. More recently, though, careful analysis of the medical literature shows that while such medicines can be helpful for people with major depression, they are barely better than placebo for mild to moderate depression. A new analysis of clinical trials for the antidepressant Cymbalta has revealed some intriguing statistics. Seven studies were reviewed involving over 2,500 people with major depression. Around three quarters of those taking the drug experienced improvement. Those taking placebo also experienced gradual improvement.

There was one surprising discovery, however. A significant number of patients receiving Cymbalta actually did worse than those getting placebos. These non-responders seemingly got no antidepressant benefit and probably experienced unpleasant side effects from the medication. Because it is nearly impossible to predict beforehand who will benefit from antidepressants and who will do worse, family, friends and prescribers will need to be especially vigilant during the early phase of treatment so they can determine whether the patient is getting better or getting worse.

[Archives of General Psychiatry, Dec. 2011]

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  1. Pauline

    I take the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin. It works very well for me. I am 87 years old and my doctor prescribed it 3 X a day but I almost always take it only 2 X. It seems to be a benign friend to me. I have taken it for over 3 years. It still works and no bad side effects. Just don’t take it with ambien. Danger of falling.

  2. Paul43

    I would like to hear more about this as my doctor keeps trying to put me on Anti-depressants.

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