Commentary: Don't talk down antidepressants


By A.C. Grayling SEVERAL perennial controversies are being given fresh impetus by news that antidepressant drugs may help only a small number of those who are prescribed them. Irving Kirsch’s team at the University of Hull, UK, reviewed nearly 50 studies of the efficacy of four widely prescribed antidepressants. In a paper published in PLoS Medicine last week, the researchers conclude that the drugs work only in the most severe cases, with little difference otherwise from a placebo. The drugs are Eli Lilly’s Prozac, GlaxoSmithKline’s Seroxat, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Serzone and Wyeth’s Effexor. Drug companies have challenged the finding,
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