JAMA: Mild to severe depression better treated with alternatives to medications

Last month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients
with very severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild
to severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


From: nandtbearden@yahoo.com
To: ,
ssri-crusaders@yahoogroups.com, atypical_antipsychotics@yahoogroups.com,
atracyphd2@aol.com
Sent: 2/14/2010 8:12:09 A.M. Central Standard
Time
Subj: Even when treated, depression costs employers

http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/mobile/m/FullArticle/eUK/CHLTUK/nhealthNews_uUKTRE6183DO20100209

Even
when treated, depression costs employers
Tue, 09 Feb 20:05 PM
GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Workers with depression stay home
sick more often than healthy colleagues, even when their disease is treated,
according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Tuesday.

The report,
commissioned by drug maker Sanofi Aventis, suggests that employers would
benefit from better treatments of their workers for depression. Depression is
the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44, according to
the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Even when depressed patients
are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses.
Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for
savings to employers,” the Thomson Reuters research team wrote in the Journal
of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“Despite the widely
acknowledged effectiveness of antidepressant therapy, productivity costs
related to depression persist even after patients receive treatment,” Suellen
Curkendall, director of outcomes research at Thomson Reuters, said in a
statement.

“This may be due to the fact that patients often don’t
respond to the first type of antidepressant that they are prescribed. They
also may fail to take their medications on a regular basis,” added Curkendall,
who led the study.

Curkendall and colleagues analyzed insurance claims
and employee health and productivity data for more than 22,000 patients
treated with antidepressants and compared them to people without
depression.

Workers who had been treated for depression were twice as
likely as others to use short-term disability leave, they found.
Disability-related costs for a year, on average, were $1,038 for patients
treated for depression and $325 for the non-depressed workers.

“Over 40
percent of patients with depression were diagnosed with at least one of the
other included psychiatric conditions besides depression,” the researchers at
Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, added.

Most common were
anxiety, dissociative and so-called somatoform disorders — a group of
disorders with physical symptoms but no apparent physical cause.

Last
month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients with very
severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild to
severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical
Association.

At least 27 million Americans take antidepressants and
more than 164 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in 2008,
totaling nearly $10 billion in U.S. sales and $20 billion globally, according
to IMS Health.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Jackie
Frank)
Sent via BlackBerry by
AT&T

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PROZAC: Young Woman Dreams of Committing Suicide: Illinois

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

This young woman has NO IDEA how lucky she is! What she is
describing here in dreaming about various ways of killing herself after starting
on Prozac is the beginning of the REM Sleep Behavior Disorder or RBD – a
condition that was not very common before Prozac hit the market.
RBD is a condition in which 86% of those being diagnosed with
it are taking an antidepressant. It is a condition in which people act out their
nightmares and 80% of those hurt themselves or someone else in doing
so.
__________________________________
Paragraphs 13 and 14 read:  “One antidepressant user, who
asked that her name be withheld, said when she sought help for what she
considered to be minor depression, doctors immediately told her drugs
were the answer.
‘They made it seem like my world was falling
apart,’  the 29-year-old said.  ‘They really pushed hard for me to
take drugs, and
I didn’t want to, but they made me think
I really needed it. So I took them’.”

“She said that after a

few weeks on Prozac, she felt numb then started having
dangerous thoughts. ‘I became emotionless.  Like,
things that should’ve made me happy, I was not excited about. Things that should
have made me sad didn’t upset me. I started dreaming about driving my car
into a wall.’
She said that according to her doctor, these were
all symptoms of her depression, but
she thinks it was
the drugs.”

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=154761

Researchers say that antidepressants are no more effective than placebo
in cases of mild or moderate depression.

Depressing truth about antidepressants

by Tina
Amirkiai

Jan 27, 2010

If you are one of the millions of people taking
antidepressants for mild depression symptoms, you might as well be taking a
placebo.

A study released by a team of researchers led by Jay C.
Fournier, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania,
found that the most commonly prescribed antidepressants do little for mild to
moderate symptoms of depression, having the same results as a placebo.

The study, published in the Jan.6 edition of the Journal of the American
Medical Association, combining previous studies with research from new clinical
trials, concluded, “There is little evidence to suggest that [antidepressants]
produce specific pharmacological benefit for the majority of patients with less
severe acute depressions.”

Dr. Paul Dobransky, a Chicago psychiatrist,
believes professionals need to look closely at each individual patient’s
symptoms and carefully diagnose the best treatment. He said there are three
angles that must be looked at when it comes to mood disorders, which he referred
to as the “bio-psycho-social” aspects.

“The biological or physical
symptoms of mood disorders are where medications are often useful,” he said.
“They cannot however, alter one’s character, personality or fix any external or
social stress the patient might be dealing with.”

Researchers used a
severity scale to evaluate the level of depression symptoms in the hundreds of

clinical trial patients, which ultimately helped determine that the
antidepressants were most effective for those with more severe disorders.

Researchers evaluated the 728 men and women, half of them had severe
depression and the other half had more moderate symptoms. They found that
compared to the placebos, the drugs caused a much steeper reduction of symptoms
in people who scored higher on the severity scale.

Researchers concluded
that, “For patients with very severe depression, the benefit of the medications
over placebo is substantial.”

Dobransky and other critics maintain that
the drug companies should be held accountable for all the advertising and sales
hype in recent years, leading directly to the overuse of drugs like
antidepressants.

In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration loosened the
restrictions on the direct-to-consumer advertising by drug companies. Since
then, pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars advertising their
products to the general public.

Dobransky said a big part of the problem
is patients see advertisements and want to use these drugs as a quick fix.
According to him, patients often assume that mild cases of depression involving
stressful situational causes can be resolved with medicine. But he said quick
fixes like that do not exist.

“Each case needs to be set in its proper
place and in many of these cases, therapy between the patient and their doctor
is the best solution,” Dobransky said.

One antidepressant user, who
asked that her name be withheld, said when she sought help for what she
considered to be minor depression, doctors immediately told her drugs were the
answer. “They made it seem like my world was falling apart,” the 29-year-old
said. “They really pushed hard for me to take drugs, and I didn’t want to, but
they made me think I really needed it. So I took them.”

She said that
after a few weeks on Prozac, she felt numb then started having dangerous
thoughts. “I became emotionless.  Like, things that should’ve made me
happy, I was not excited about. Things that should have made me sad didn’t upset
me. I started dreaming about driving my car into a wall.” She said that
according to her doctor, these were all symptoms of her depression, but she
thinks it was the drugs.

“I just felt like instead of my doctor doing
her job as a therapist, she looked to some drug to cure me, which is
ridiculous,” she said. “It’s basically a quick fix, it solves nothing, and in my
case turned mild symptoms into severe ones.”

A spokesman for
GlaxoSmithKline, who makes paroxetine, sold as Paxil, told Bloomberg News that
“the study used for the analysis in the JAMA paper differ methodologically from
studies used to support the approval of paroxetine for major depressive
disorder, so it is difficult to make direct comparisons between the study
results.”

If you think you might be depressed, the Depression Health
Center on the WebMD Web site advises relying on licensed professionals trained
to treat depression who can help you chose the best course of treatment, which
may or may not include antidepressant drugs.
Dashed line

©2001 – 2009 Medill Reports – Chicago, Northwestern
University.  A publication of the Medill
School
.

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