Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Benefit of antidepressant medications appears to vary with severity of depression symptoms

Date:
January 7, 2010
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
An analysis of randomized trials indicates that compared with placebo, the magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medications varies with the severity of depressive symptoms, and may provide little benefit for patients with mild or moderate depression, but appear to provide substantial benefit for patients with very severe depression, according to a new study.

An analysis of randomized trials indicates that compared with placebo, the magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medications varies with the severity of depressive symptoms, and may provide little benefit for patients with mild or moderate depression, but appear to provide substantial benefit for patients with very severe depression, according to an article in the January 6 issue of JAMA.

Antidepressant medications (ADM) are the current standard of treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), but there is little evidence that they have a specific pharmacological effect relative to placebo for patients with less severe depression, according to background information in the article.

Jay C. Fournier, M.A., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the benefit of ADM vs. placebo across a wide range of initial symptom severity in patients diagnosed with depression. The researchers combined data from 6 large-scale, placebo-controlled randomized trials. The studies included 718 adult outpatients.

The authors found that the efficacy of ADM treatment for depression varied considerably, depending on symptom severity. "True drug effects (an advantage of ADM over placebo) were nonexistent to negligible among depressed patients with mild, moderate, and even severe baseline symptoms, whereas they were large for patients with very severe symptoms."

"What makes our findings surprising is the high level of depression symptom severity that appears to be required for clinically meaningful drug/placebo differences to emerge, particularly given the evidence that the majority of patients receiving ADM in clinical practice present with scores [measures of depression] below these levels."

"Prescribers, policy makers, and consumers may not be aware that the efficacy of medications largely has been established on the basis of studies that have included only those individuals with more severe forms of depression. This important feature of the evidence base is not reflected in the implicit messages present in the marketing of these medications to clinicians and the public. There is little mention of the fact that efficacy data often come from studies that exclude precisely those MDD patients who derive little specific pharmacological benefit from taking medications. Pending findings contrary to those reported here and those obtained [in previous studies] by Kirsch et al and Khan et al, efforts should be made to clarify to clinicians and prospective patients that whereas ADM can have a substantial effect with more severe depressions, there is little evidence to suggest that they produce specific pharmacological benefit for the majority of patients with less severe acute depressions," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jay C. Fournier; Robert J. DeRubeis; Steven D. Hollon; Sona Dimidjian; Jay D. Amsterdam; Richard C. Shelton; Jan Fawcett. Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity: A Patient-Level Meta-analysis. JAMA, 2010; 303 (1): 47-53 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Benefit of antidepressant medications appears to vary with severity of depression symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105161538.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2010, January 7). Benefit of antidepressant medications appears to vary with severity of depression symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105161538.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Benefit of antidepressant medications appears to vary with severity of depression symptoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105161538.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. 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.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

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