In England, antidepressants were taken by 7.3 million adults, or 17% of the adult population, from 2017 to 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. Despite its prevalence, it has been demonstrated by a major study that antidepressants don’t make people any happier than taking no medicine at all.
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The investigation (read below) discovered that patients on the medications did not have a substantially higher quality of life than depressed individuals who were not on the pills.
Over a ten-year period, researchers looked at 17.5 million US people with depression, half of whom were on medication and the other half were not.
Regardless of whether or not they were taking antidepressants, both groups exhibited a minor improvement in mental health.
More long-term research on patients taking antidepressants to assess their influence on quality of life are needed, according to experts at Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University.
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Doctors on the NHS are already avoiding giving the medications, which have a slew of negative side effects.
Patients with mild depression should henceforth be provided group therapy sessions instead of medicines, according to the health service.
Independent experts, however, suggested that significant conclusions could not be derived from the study since those who were given the medications were often more sad at the start, making the comparison unfair.
They maintained that the medications had been shown in prior clinical research to enhance overall quality of life.
In England, antidepressants were taken by 7.3 million adults, or 17% of the adult population, from 2017 to 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine, sold under the brand names Celexa, Zoloft, and Prozac, are among the most regularly prescribed.
Between 2015 and 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 27.6 million over-18s (13.2%) in the United States were frequently consuming the medications.
Participants who were surveyed and provided health tests as part of another study were utilized in the newest study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE (read below).
This comprised all non-institutionalized adults in the country who had been diagnosed with depression.
They were largely women, with an average age of 48. (67.9 per cent).
Antidepressants were used by more than half of the participants, whereas 43% were not on medication but nevertheless had a clinical diagnosis.
Researchers compared their Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scores two years after they were first found in the database.
The CDC uses this metric as a measure of mental and physical well-being, and it is based on patients’ responses to survey questions regarding their health.
It is divided into two categories: mental and physical well-being. On the scale, healthy persons usually score around 90.
Over the course of two years, both groups’ mental health ratings improved, while their physical health scores deteriorated.
Mental health scores improved by 2.9 percent, from 40.32 to 41.50, among those taking the medicine. Their physical health ratings dropped from 42.5 to 41.85, a drop of 1.5 percent.
Those who did not use antidepressants, on the other hand, saw their mental health ratings rise 2.2 percent, from 42.99 to 43.92. Their physical ratings fell from 43.86 to 43.31. (1.3 per cent).
There was no statistical distinction between individuals who took the drug and those who didn’t, according to Dr. Omar Almohammed, a clinical pharmacist at the Saudi university.
This demonstrates that using antidepressants doesn’t really enhance quality of life over time, according to the researchers.
Independent experts, on the other hand, criticized the study for failing to account for the disparity in depression levels between the two groups.
Dr Gemma Lewis, a psychiatrist at University College London, said: ‘In this study, the people who received antidepressants had worse quality of life, and are likely to have been more severely depressed, than those who did not.
‘This type of bias is difficult to eliminate in a naturalistic study like this, which does not involve an experimental design.
‘Clinical trials with experimental designs have found that antidepressants improve mental health related quality of life.’
Professor Eduard Vieta, a psychiatrist at the University of Barcelona, said: ‘The major limitation of this paper is that, as is often the case with these kinds of studies, the confounder by indication.
‘The inability to control for severity of depression between the two different groups is a crucial flaw and therefore there is little we can learn from this data.’
Read the full study below: