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Study accidentally shows 20% do worse on antidepressants, placebo works


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Sponsored by Eli Lilly to push their atypical antipsychotic Zyprexa as a treatment to patients who fail to respond to their Cymbalta and other antidepressants, the intention of this paper was to keep the profits in the family.

 

However, because the researchers were not intentionally trying to show efficacy of the antidepressants, it is possible their statistics that 20% of the patients did WORSE on antidepressants may actually be accurate.

 

(The jimmying of data in this study is critiqued here http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/12/do-antidepressants-make-some-people.html )

 

Some depressed people do worse on drugs: study

Mon, Dec 12 2011

 

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Up to a fifth of patients being treated for depression with some medications may do worse than those given a placebo, according to a U.S. study.

 

The findings, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, highlight the importance of quickly identifying how patients respond to certain drugs, said lead author Ralitza Gueorguieva, at the Yale University School of Health.

 

....

The researchers combined data from seven studies that randomly assigned patients to receive Eli Lilly's drug Cymbalta, known generically as duloxetine, other antidepressants, or a drug-free pill for two months. The trials involved about 2,500 people with major depression.

 

People getting the placebo tended to report small, gradual improvements in depression symptoms. But those on Cymbalta or another antidepressant fell into one of two categories: most had steeper, steady improvement in depression symptoms, but a sizeable chunk didn't seem to get any better.

 

One of the study's authors is an employee of Eli Lilly and another is on the company's scientific advisory board.

 

Researchers found that patients' symptoms over the first few months of antidepressant use separated them into "responders", who got progressively better, and "non-responders", who didn't improve with treatment but may still have suffered side effects.

 

About four in five patients on all antidepressants were responders. For Cymbalta, about 84 percent of patients improved but 16 percent did not.

 

Medication responders saw significantly bigger improvements in their depression symptoms than patients assigned to the placebo. Non-responders, however, actually did worse.

 

"You know within the first couple weeks of starting a treatment who's the most likely to benefit because they're already starting to show improvement," said Michael Thase, a psychiatrist from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, who wasn't involved in the study.

 

"I think this finding holds true for the antidepressants that are most commonly used today," he added, referring to the gap between responders and non-responders.

 

The side-effects of antidepressants, such as stomach problems and poor sleep, could explain the worse symptoms seen in non-responders compared to placebo patients, he said.

 

....

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/12/health-antidepressants-idUKL3E7NC17L20111212

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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