More than a million extra people should be offered antidepressants after the largest study of its kind concluded that they worked, experts have said.
What the research found was that antidepressants do work, but some are more effective than others.
“Depression is the single largest contributor to global disability that we have – a massive challenge challenge for humanity,” said John Geddes, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at Oxford University. It affects about 350 million people worldwide and instances arose almost 20% from 2005-2015.
“Antidepressants are an effective tool for depression. Untreated depression is a huge problem because of the burden to society,” said Andrea Cipriani of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research.
Dr. Cipriani stated that drugs do not work for at least a third of patients but emphasised that people should not shun talking therapies, which are thought to be roughly as effective as antidepressants but are more expensive and often unavailable.
He added, “Patients should be aware of the potential benefits from antidepressants and always speak to doctors about the most suitable treatment for them.”
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said, “Taking antidepressants is frequently portrayed as as a negative thing or or something done only when other therapies are not not available or have failed, but this in itself can add to the unfortunate stigma that sometimes exists around people with mental health conditions. This research should reassure patients who are taking or contemplating commencing antidepressants, and the doctors who prescribe them, that they are an effective treatment.