ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Star D Study – Only 3% Remission, Not 67%

Last paragraph reads:  “”Although the study‘s reports make no
mention of this outcome, their data show that after a year of continuation
treatment following remission, of the 4,041 patients who entered the program
only 108 (3%) had a sustained remission — all the other patients either dropped
out or relapsed. Yet STAR*D‘s authors and the NIMH have publicized the study as
showing a 67% success rate for

antidepressants.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201005/update-the-stard-report
May 19, 2010, Psychiatry

Update on the STAR*D Report
The
documented recovery rate in the STAR*D trial–worse than thought?
Published
on May 19, 2010

Two months ago, I wrote a post about a New Yorker
article that reported that 67% of the depressed patients in the STAR*D trial
“recovered.” As I noted in that post, the 67% figure was a highly exaggerated
number. Only 51% of the 3,671 patients who entered the trial ever remitted, even
for a short period. Furthermore, only about 20% of the patients remitted and
then reported to STAR*D investigators, at some point during a 12-month follow-up
period, that they were still doing well.

But this left an obvious
question, one that I hadn’t been able to find an answer to in the published

STAR*D reports. How many of the 3,671 people who entered the trial remitted and
then stayed well and in the trial throughout the entire 12-month follow-up? That
number would provide a documented long-term recovery rate for patients in the
trial.

A few days ago, Allan Leventhal sent me a 2009 article he
coauthored with David Antonuccio, and in it, they successfully identified this
number (finding it in a confusing graphic I hadn’t been able to decipher.) In
their computations, they relied on STAR*D reports that told of 4,041 initial
participants (3,671 was the number of “enrolled” patients counted in the
analysis of drug-remission rates), and then they came to this bottom-line
conclusion about the documented long-term recovery rate:

“Although the

study‘s reports make no mention of this outcome, their data show that after a
year of continuation treatment following remission, of the 4,041 patients who
entered the program only 108 (3%) had a sustained remission — all the other
patients either dropped out or relapsed. Yet STAR*D‘s authors and the NIMH have
publicized the study as showing a 67% success rate for antidepressants.”

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