Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Second-generation Antidepressants Very Similar But Have Different Side Effects

September 20, 2005
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Because clinical depression is so disabling and affects more than 16 percent of adults in the United States at some time in their lives, researchers have worked hard to develop more effective treatments. But how much better are the newer pharmaceuticals?

Manysecond-generation antidepressants, despite differences in drugclassification and cost, offer patients essentially the same benefitswith little variation in risks, University of North Carolina at ChapelHill researchers have found.

Such antidepressants includeselective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other drugs thataffect the activity of neurotransmitters in a selective way.

In apaper published online today (Sept. 19) and to be published in theOctober issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. RichardA. Hansen and colleagues examined the effects of 10 commonly prescribedsecond-generation antidepressants. Those drugs included familiarbrand-name drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin and Paxil.

Hansenis assistant professor of pharmacy at the UNC School of Pharmacy. Thestudy he led involved investigating the medications’ role in theinitial treatment of adults suffering from major depression bycombining and systematically analyzing data from 46 randomized,controlled trials.

Other authors, all at UNC, are Drs. GeraldGartlehner and Timothy S. Carey of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for HealthServices Research, Dr. Kathleen N. Lohr of the health policy andadministration department at the School of Public Health, and BradleyN. Gaynes of the School of Medicine’s psychiatry department. Carey,professor of medicine, directs the Sheps Center. Gartlehner isassociate director of the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center.

"Paststudies have compared the effectiveness of second-generationantidepressants with that of placebo or older treatments but have notsystematically evaluated how the second-generation agents compared toeach other," Hansen said. "Given the number of second-generationtreatments available, cost differences, widespread use and the generallack of consensus in how the drugs compare, our research can helppatients, clinicians and policy makers decide which drug is best."

Thebottom line was that one was about as good as another in terms ofeffectiveness, but the likelihood that patients experienced certainside effects differed between compounds, he said.

"Comparativeevidence on these drugs suggests that there are only minimaldifferences in efficacy, although some of the drugs come with anincreased risk of certain side effects," Hansen said. "Understandingthe likelihood of the side effects and matching this information withpatients’ lifestyle and preferences for anticipated side effects mayhelp improve drug treatment of depression.

"Although our studydid not specifically assess the impact of drug costs or differences indosing regimens on how patients fared, those factors also may beimportant determinants in drug selection," the scientist said. "That’sin the absence of patient preference or a clear choice for which agentis best for a given person."

Limitations of the study were thatpublished data from some trials was not as complete and comparable asresearchers would have preferred, Hansen said. Most data was fromtrials sponsored by drug companies, and questions remain as to howunbiased such studies are.

Support for the investigation came tothe Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research from the DrugEffectiveness Review Project, a collaborative program coordinated bythe Center for Evidence-Based Policy at the Oregon Health and ScienceUniversity.

In 2000, the economic burden of depression wasestimated to be $83.1 billion, Hansen said. Although drug treatmentdoes not work for all patients, drugs are usually considered the firstand potentially best treatment in part since primary care physiciansprescribe the majority of antidepressants in this country.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Second-generation Antidepressants Very Similar But Have Different Side Effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920081731.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2005, September 20). Second-generation Antidepressants Very Similar But Have Different Side Effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920081731.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Second-generation Antidepressants Very Similar But Have Different Side Effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920081731.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This

More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News


      Free Subscriptions

      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile

      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?

      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins