Centre for Confidence and Well-being

Skip to content
Carol's Blog
Postcards from Scotland

Antidepressant studies unpublished

Recent research published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that the makers of antidepressants, such as Prozac, are misleading doctors and consumers about the ?true? effectiveness of these drugs. The paper reviews 74 trials involving 12 drugs. The researchers revealed that only 14% of studies which showed disappointing or uncertain results were reported, while all of the positive studies, except one, were reported. The researchers caution that this selective publication can lead doctors to believe that drugs are more effective than they really are.

The researchers conducted a literature search to check whether the results of the studies reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been published in medical journals.  For trials that had been published they compared the published version of the results with the FDA version of the results.

What they found was that whether and how the studies were published depended on how they turned out.  The research team found that according to the published literature, nearly all studies conducted (94 percent) had positive treatment results, but FDA data showed that in fact only about half (51 percent) of the studies were positive. Positive studies, with one exception, were all published. Most studies (33 out of 36) that were not positive either were not published or were published as if they were positive, in conflict with the FDA conclusions. These 33 studies involved 5,212 patients.

Dr Turner said that the selective reporting of favorable studies sets up patients for disappointment.  ?The bottom line for people considering an antidepressant, I think, is that they should be more circumspect about taking it,? he said ?and not be so shocked if it doesn?t work? and think something?s wrong with them.?

To read the press release click here

 
Centre Events Previous Centre Events External Events Carol's Talks