Prescription Antidepressants
No Better Than a Sugar Pill!

Prescription antidepressants are proven not be much better than sugar pill.

An article that appeared in the American Psychology Association’s journal  reveals that prescription anti-depressants are not much better than placebo.

"Although antidepressant medication is widely regarded as effective, a recent meta-analysis of published clinical trials indicates that 75 percent of the response to antidepressants is duplicated by placebo (sugar pill)."

The report analyses the data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of recent antidepressant medications.

The authors analyzed the efficacy data submitted to the FDA for the six most widely prescribed antidepressants approved between 1987 and 1999:

  • Prozac
  • Paxi
  • Zoloft
  • Effexor
  • Serzone and
  • Celexa.

“More important, the FDA data constitute the basis on which these medications were approved. Approval of these medications implies that these particular data are strong enough and reliable enough to warrant approval. To the extent that these data are flawed, the medications should not have been approved."

"In order to generalize the findings of the clinical trial to a larger patient population, FDA reviewers sought a completion rate of 70% or better for these typically 6-week trials. Only 4 of 45 trials, however, reached this objective.”

The Emperor's New Drugs: An Analysis of Antidepressant Medication Data Submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Irving Kirsch
University of Connecticut

Thomas J. Moore
The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services

Alan Scoboria and Sarah S. Nicholls
University of Connecticut

Prevention & Treatment, Volume 5, Article 23, posted July 15, 2002 American Psychology Association

Roughly 28 million Americans -- one in every ten -- have taken Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil or a similar antidepressant, yet very few patients are aware of the dangers of these drugs, nor are they aware that better, safer alternatives exist. Now Harvard Medical School's Dr. Joseph Glenmullen documents the ominous long-term side effects associated with these and other serotonin-boosting medications.

These side-effects include neurological disorders, such as disfiguring facial and whole-body tics that can indicate brain damage; sexual dysfunction in up to 60 percent of users; debilitating withdrawal symptoms, including visual hallucinations, electric shock-like sensations in the brain, dizziness, nausea, and anxiety; and a decrease of antidepressant effectiveness in about 35 percent of long-term users.

 New Warnings on Antidepressants’ Link to Suicide

New warnings have surfaced about the risk of suicide from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drugs, which include Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft.

Drug regulators have reported that Paxil, which is closely related to the other SSRIs, may increase the risk of suicide among teenagers and children, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Regulators have recommended that no new Paxil prescriptions be written for patients under the age of 18 years. Some say the suicide risk may extend to adults as well.

Recent studies have focused on the antidepressants’ effectiveness, as studies have found that the drugs are no more effective than a placebo, rather than their safety. SSRIs bring in billions of dollars in sales each year.

New York Times August 7, 2003

Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs work by increasing the brain’s use of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin deficiency is linked to depression, lowered pain tolerance, poor sleep, and mental fatigue.

All SSRIs are partially or wholly broken down in the liver. This can create liver dysfunction in some patients. Patients with a sluggish liver should be cautious in taking these medications. Milk thistle and other natural liver supplements should be used by anyone taking these medications.

Most common side effects include headache, anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness, drowsiness, weakness, changes in sex drive, tremors, dry mouth, irritated stomach, loss of appetite, dizziness, nausea, rash, and itching.

Examples of SSRIs include: Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine HCL), Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Desyrel (trazadone), Wellbutrin (bupropion HCL), and Effexor (venlafaxine).

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